Three hundred one patients were examined for suicidal plans during the acute hospital period following stroke and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months' follow-up. It was found that 6.6% of patients developed suicidal plans during the initial in-hospital evaluation (acute-onset suicidal plans) and 11.3% of patients developed suicidal plans at 3, 6, 12, or 24 months' follow-up (delayed-onset suicidal plans). The development of both acute and delayed-onset suicidal plans was strongly related to the existence of depressive disorders, especially major depression, and to a prior history of stroke. Acute-onset suicidal plans were also related to premorbid alcohol abuse. Acute-onset suicidal patients had more anterior lesion location and delayed-onset suicidal patients had more posterior stroke lesions. Delayed-onset suicidal plans were not related to alcohol abuse but tended to be associated with greater physical impairment and poorer social support during the acute poststroke period. These data suggest that the etiology of these two types of suicidal plans may be different with acute onset related to biological mechanisms and delayed onset related to psychological mechanisms.