Profiles of suicidality and clusters of Hungarian adolescent outpatients suffering from suicidal behaviour

Elek Dinya, Janos Csorba, Zsuzsa Sorfozo, Peter Steiner, Beata Ficsor, Agnes Horvath
Psychopathology 2009, 42 (5): 299-310

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to reveal the background dimensions of suicidal behaviour (SB) and to identify clusters of Hungarian adolescent outpatients suffering from suicidality by means of the following correlates of SB: depression, inadequate conflict-solving methods, dysfunctional attitudes, maladaptive coping, help-seeking strategies and negative life events.

SAMPLING AND METHODS: A self-report test battery was completed by every consecutive new adolescent outpatient from a representative patient pool of 5 local child psychiatric centres in Western Hungary over an 18-month period (n = 644). The questionnaires used were the pilot version of the Columbia Depression Scale, the Hungarian standard versions of the Beck Depression Inventory, the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale and the Junior High Life Experiences Survey. A total of 110 adolescent outpatients (88 females, 22 males, mean age = 16.21 years, SD = 1.38) suffering from SB were included in the study. All diagnoses including SB were confirmed by the MINI Plus Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. K means clustering was used to compare variances of 19 variables to decide which ones are the major criteria for assigning subjects to clusters, and principal component analysis was utilized to identify background SB dimensions in the patient sample.

RESULTS: The cluster analysis identified 3 homogenous clusters differentiating suicidal adolescents characteristically: 'stress-laden/medium depressive', 'low depressive/low achievement' and 'high depressive' cluster groups. While cluster analysis confirmed the role of the severity of depression only, principal component analysis explored the following 4 underlying profiles of SB: stress-laden, dysfunctional, maladaptive and depressive/risky factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Although important coping qualities failed to register as major criteria in the development of separate groups of suicidal adolescent outpatients, distinct background profiles of SB among Hungarian adolescents were found covering the risk groups according to clinical experience. Future research is warranted to identify possible variation in the coping strategies among different adolescent suicidal samples.

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