Psychiatric effects of exposure to suicide among the friends and acquaintances of adolescent suicide victims

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1992 Jul;31(4):629-39. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199207000-00009.


The friends and acquaintances (N = 58) of 10 adolescent suicide victims were interviewed 6 months after the death of the victims, and the rates of psychiatric disorders that had onset after the death were compared with the 6-month incidence of psychopathology in 58 demographically and psychiatrically matched unexposed controls. The exposed group showed higher rates of any new onset major depressive disorder, but the rate of incident suicide attempts was the same in both groups. The median onset of incident depression among the exposed group was within the first month after exposure, and the majority of those exposed youth with incident depression were still depressed at interview 6 months after the death. Adolescent friends and acquaintances of suicide victims experience considerable psychiatric morbidity subsequent to exposure to suicide, most consistent with pathological grief.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / psychology*