Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2013). 34(6), 374–381. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000211 SIEC No: 20231159

Background: Suicide in schizophrenia is a serious problem–ideation rates go up to 40%, and approximately one half of patients attempt suicide at least once. The distinction between attempters and ideators is vital in everyday clinical practice.

Aim: To explore the association between psychopathology and suicidal behavior in a comparative study of three groups of patients with schizophrenia: suicide ideators, suicide attempters, and subjects without suicide ideation and behavior.

Method: The study included 509 patients: suicide attempters (n = 159), ideators (n = 180), and a comparative group (n = 170). The clinical assessment consisted of a structured psychiatric interview and an evaluation of sociodemographics, suicidality (SIBQ), psychopathology (PANSS), and depression (CDSS).

Results: Suicide attempters were more depressed than ideators, and both groups had higher CDSS scores than the comparative group. The overall contribution of positive, negative, and general PANSS symptoms was not statistically significant enough to differentiate ideators from attempters. A principal component analysis of the PANSS items revealed five components: disinhibition, withdrawal, anxiety and guilt, reality distortion, and disorganization. Two logistic regression analyses showed that suicide ideation or attempt was significantly related to depression, anxiety, guilt, gender, age, and number of previous hospitalizations. Compared to suicide ideators, attempters were more depressed, had a higher number of previous hospitalizations, and lower education.

Conclusion: The results indicate that clinicians should look for depression, anxiety, and guilt feelings, while positive and negative symptoms seem to be less relevant for suicide assessment in schizophrenia.