Comparison of impulsive and nonimpulsive suicide attempt patients treated in the emergency departments of four general hospitals in Shenyang, China

Shengnan Wei, Li Liu, Bo Bi, Haiyan Li, Jinglin Hou, Wei Chen, Shanyong Tan, Xu Chen, Xiaoju Jia, Guanghui Dong, Xiaoxia Qin
General Hospital Psychiatry 2013, 35 (2): 186-91

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the current study was to compare the sociodemographic and psychological characteristics of impulsive suicide attempters with those of nonimpulsive suicide attempters in the emergency departments of general hospitals in Shenyang, China.

METHODS: A total of 239 consecutive suicide attempters, who were treated in the emergency departments of four randomly selected general hospitals from Shenyang city, were evaluated by the following measurements: a detailed structured questionnaire, Beck Suicide Ideation Scale, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, a quality of life scale and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. The patients were categorized as "impulsive suicide attempts" (≤ 2 h) and "nonimpulsive suicide attempts" (> 2 h) based on the hours it takes for a patient to consider suicide before acting, and the characteristics of the two groups of patients were compared.

RESULTS: One hundred seven (44.8%) patients were categorized as impulsive attempters. Compared to nonimpulsive suicide attempters, the impulsive suicide attempters had significantly more self-rescue ideation, their motive was more likely to threaten or express anger at others, and they scored much lower on the intensity of suicidal ideation and depression but higher on life quality; they also had a lower prevalence of psychiatric diagnosis but a higher rate of substance-related disorders. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified the following independent predictors of impulsive suicide attempts among suicide attempters: having religious beliefs [odds ratio (OR)=4.435, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.545-12.736], a lower score on the Suicide Ideation Scale (OR=0.952, 95% CI=0.936-0.969) and a lower score on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (OR=0.949, 95% CI=0.911-0.989).

CONCLUSIONS: The characteristics of impulsive suicide attempters differed significantly with those of nonimpulsive suicide attempters in emergency departments of urban China. It is important to develop different kinds of interventions for the two types of suicide attempters to prevent more future suicide attempts.

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