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Arch Med Sci. 2012 Sep 8;8(4):697-703. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2012.28601. Epub 2012 May 15.

Factors associated with suicidal behaviour among depressed patients in Penang, Malaysia.

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1
College of Clinical Pharmacy, King Faisal University, Alahsa, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

This study aims to highlight the factors associated with suicidal behavior among patients with depressive disorders.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

A retrospective (Jan 2002 - Dec 2007) evaluation of medical records was done at the psychiatric clinic at the Penang (Malaysia) Public Hospital. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science SPSS version 13(®). Chi-square (χ(2)) test was used to assess the association among variables. Odds ratios were calculated. Multiple logistic regression was applied to identify the predictors for suicidal behavior.

RESULTS:

Of 298 patients, 99 patients reported having thoughts of suicide. Overall, female respondents, particularly Chinese, constituted the majority reporting suicidal thoughts (p = 0.01). Cigarette (p < 0.01) and alcohol use (p < 0.01) were found to be associated with suicidal ideation. Among patients with medical comorbidities, diabetics were at a high risk for suicidal thoughts (odds ratio - OR = 1.05, 95% confidence interval - CI 0.45-2.46). In terms of social problems, marital and relationship difficulties were the main risk factors (OR = 2.03, 95% CI: 1.16-3.58). The significant predictors for suicidal behavior were found to be smoking and alcohol use (adjusted R(2) = 0.39, F change = 75.55, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Chinese females were found at higher risk of suicidal ideation, as were smokers and alcohol users. The elderly aged 50 and over were also at a higher risk, followed by adolescents and youths aged 15-24 years. Comorbid medical complications and social problems were other factors that may contribute to suicidal ideation among the patients with depressive disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Penang Public Hospital; comorbidities; smoking and alcohol use; social problems; suicidal behaviour

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