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Psychiatric hospitalization for a suicide attempt (SA), rather than suicide ideation (SI) alone, is a stronger risk indicator for eventual suicide death. Yet, little is known about demographic and clinical characteristics differentiating those admitted for SA versus SI. Understanding these differences has implications for assessment and treatment. A retrospective review of electronic medical records (EMRs) was performed on service members (n = 955) admitted for SA or SI at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center between 2001–2006. Service members hospitalized for SA were younger compared to those hospitalized for SI. The proportion of women admitted for SA was significantly higher than those admitted for SI whereas their male counterparts showed the opposite pattern. Patients admitted for SA, versus SI, had significantly higher prevalence of adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotion and conduct (MDEC), personality disorder not otherwise specified (PDNOS), and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Patients admitted for SI had significantly higher prevalence of adjustment disorder with depressed mood and deferred Axis II diagnosis, compared to those admitted for SA. There were no significant between-group differences in the average or median number of documented prior suicide attempts. Findings highlight the need for more standardized assessment, diagnostic decision-making, and documentation practices for all patients.


Published by International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health at 10.3390/ijerph16183274.

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