Treatment for adolescents following a suicide attempt: results of a pilot trial

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;44(2):113-20. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200502000-00003.


Objective: To compare the efficacy of a skills-based treatment protocol to a supportive relationship therapy for adolescents after a suicide attempt.

Method: Thirty-nine adolescents (12-17 years old) and parents who presented to a general pediatric emergency department or inpatient unit of a child psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt were randomized to either a skills-based or a supportive relationship treatment condition. Follow-up assessments were conducted at intake and 3 and 6 months post-attempt.

Results: In contrast to the low rates of treatment received by adolescent suicide attempters in the community, approximately 60% of this sample completed the entire treatment protocol. Significant decreases in suicidal ideation and depressed mood at 3- and 6-month follow-ups were obtained, but there were no differences between treatment groups. There were six reattempts in the follow-up period.

Conclusions: When adolescents who attempt suicide are maintained in treatment, significant improvements in functioning can be realized for the majority of patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / rehabilitation*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Emergency Services, Psychiatric
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Admission
  • Pilot Projects
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Support*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*