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Value of measuring suicidal intent in the assessment of people attending hospital following self-poisoning or self-injury

  • Louise Harriss (a1), Keith Hawton (a1) and Daniel Zahl (a1)
Abstract
Background

Self-harm is associated with a high risk of suicide. It is unclear whether suicidal intent at the time of self-harm is a risk factor for future suicidal behaviour.

Aims

To investigate the relationship between suicidal intent and patient characteristics, repetition of self-harm, and suicide.

Method

Clinical and demographic data on 4415 patients presenting to hospital following self-harm between 1993 and 2000 were analysed. Suicidal intent was measured using the Beck Suicide Intent Scale (SIS). Follow-up information on repetition of self-harm and suicide was investigated for 2489 patients presenting between 1993 and 1997.

Results

Suicidal intent at the time of self-harm was associated with risk of subsequent suicide, especially within the first year and among female patients. Suicide was more strongly associated with scores on the circumstances section of the SIS than the self-report section. The association between repetition of self-harm and SIS scores was different for male and female patients.

Conclusions

The measurement of suicidal intent in the assessment of self-harm patients is beneficial for the evaluation of future suicide risk. A shortened measuring scale might be useful in clinical practice.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. E-mail: keith.hawton@psychiatry.ox.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Value of measuring suicidal intent in the assessment of people attending hospital following self-poisoning or self-injury

  • Louise Harriss (a1), Keith Hawton (a1) and Daniel Zahl (a1)
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