Suicide ideation at its worst point: a predictor of eventual suicide in psychiatric outpatients

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1999 Spring;29(1):1-9.


Scales for measuring current suicide ideation (SSI-C), suicide ideation at its worst point in the patient's life (SSI-W), and hopelessness (BHS) were administered to 3,701 outpatients seeking psychiatric treatment. Thirty patients from this sample eventually committed suicide, within a mean of 4 years from the initial assessment. Based on cut-off scores derived from receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses, the SSI-W had an odds ratio of 13.84 for predicting suicide, whereas the SSI-C and the BHS had odds ratios of 5.42 and 6.43, respectively. The assessment of suicide ideation at its worst point identifies a subgroup of patients at relatively high risk for eventual suicide. Robust interventions and periodic monitoring for suicide ideation and hopelessness are recommended to reduce long-term suicide risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Comorbidity
  • Demography
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*