Suicidal ideation in medical inpatients: psychosocial and clinical correlates

Letícia M Furlanetto, Bianca Stefanello
General Hospital Psychiatry 2011, 33 (6): 572-8

OBJECTIVE: To identify psychosocial and clinical correlates of suicidal ideation in medical inpatients.

METHOD: In a cross-sectional study, all adults consecutively admitted to the medical wards of a University Hospital had their names recorded and were randomized and evaluated during the first week of admission. Suicidal ideation was assessed using Item 9 of Patient Health Questionnaire-9. The Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the WHO Subjective well-being scale, the Charlson Comorbidity Index and other numerical rating scales (pain and self-reported physical illness severity) were used. Patients with less than four confidants were considered with poor social support. The Student's t test, Mann-Whitney U test, chi-square test and stepwise logistic regression analysis were used.

RESULTS: Of the 1092 patients who composed the sample, 7.2% reported having suicidal ideation. After adjusting for psychosocial and clinical confounders, prior suicide attempts (OR: 4.41; 95% CI: 2.12-9.15; P<.001), depressive symptoms (OR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.06-1.17; P<.001), severe anxiety symptoms (OR: 3.04; 95% CI: 1.47-6.26; P=.003) and poor social support (OR: 2.02; 95% CI:1.03-3.96; P=.04) were independently associated with suicidal ideation.

CONCLUSIONS: Three out of the four correlates of suicidal ideation in medical inpatients are potentially modifiable factors: severe anxiety, depressive symptoms and poor social support. The fourth variable, prior suicide attempts, is not modifiable but should serve as a red flag to suspect and investigate current suicide risk. These findings highlight the importance of suicidal ideation as a proxy for the distress that is incumbent upon physicians to manage if they wish to provide excellent and comprehensive inpatient care.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"