Violent and Serious Suicide Attempts

May 15, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

A study of more than 1,000 people who attempted suicide in France found that those who made violent suicide attempts or attempts with medically serious consequences shared more characteristics with people who died by suicide than did people whose attempts were less violent or had less serious medical consequences. The authors suggest that this research can help predict which suicide attempters are at greatest risk for eventually dying by suicide.

One-third of the suicide attempters in the study sample had made a violent attempt (e.g. by using a firearm, cutting themselves deeply, or jumping from a bridge) or serious attempt (one that, regardless of method, resulted in surgical treatment or admission to an intensive care unit). Compared to those who made non-violent, non-serious attempts, people who made violent attempts were – like those who die by suicide – more likely to be male and to have a family history of suicide. Serious attempters were more likely to be older, and both groups were more likely to have made past attempts with a high potential for lethality – both of which are also risk factors for dying by suicide. However, people who died by suicide had exhibited significantly greater levels of lifetime aggression, impulsivity, and hopelessness than either the violent or serious attempters in the study. 

This summary is from; Giner, L., Jaussent, I., Olié, E., Béziat, S., Guillaume, S., Baca-Garcia, E.,…and Courtet, P. (2014). Violent and serious suicide attempters: One step closer to suicide? Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 75(3), e191-197.c