Incidence of suicide ideation and attempts in adults: The 13-year follow-up of a community sample in Baltimore, Maryland

K. U.O. Wen-Hung, J. J. Gallo, A. Y. Tien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Background. Utilizing a prospectively designed community sample, we set out to estimate the rate of newly-incident suicidal ideation and attempts (non-fatal suicide behaviour) in a community sample, to evaluate antecedent sociodemographic characteristics and psychiatric disorders, and to assess use of mental health services in relation to non-fatal suicide behaviour. Method. Prospectively-gathered data was utilized from 3481 continuing participants in the 13-year follow-up of the Baltimore sample of the NIMH Epidemiologic Catchment Area survey interviewed in 1981, 1982 and 1993/6. Results. The incidence of suicide attempts was estimated at 148.8 per 100 000 person-years and ideation at 419.9 per 100 000 person-years. Persons in the youngest age group, in the lowest socio-economic status, and previously married persons were at increased risk for non-fatal suicide behaviour during the follow-up interval. Persons who reported suicidal ideation at baseline were more likely to report having attempted suicide at follow-up (RR = 6.09, 95% CI 2.58-14.36). Psychiatric disorders, especially depression and substance abuse, were associated with new-onset of non-fatal suicidal behaviour. While persons who reported newly-incident suicidal behaviour were more likely to report use of mental health services, few said that suicidal ideation or attempts were the reason for the visits. Conclusions. Suicidal ideation is a common and important antecedent to suicide attempts and deserves more attention in community and general medical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1191
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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