Background: Suicide attempts by adolescents continue to be a major public health problem. The purpose of this study was to examine the difference in the family functioning and sociopsychopathological risk factor relationship between female bulimic adolescents with suicidal ideation only, and those who attempted suicide.
Methods: A group of 211 patients were observed for 12 months. Data from 63 subjects (SUG [suicide group], age 17.2 +/- 1.3 years) who had attempted suicide were then compared with 148 (control group, age 18.1 +/- 1.5 years) who had expressed suicidal ideation but did not follow through.
Results: Those in the suicide attempt group had been exposed more frequently to physical/sexual violence in childhood. As adults they either lived alone or were dissatisfied with their partnership. The frequency of borderline personality disorders and depressive disorders in this group was significant. Psychosomatic symptoms, disturbed coenesthesia, substance abuse, social impairment and interference with their perception of their own life circumstances, as well as their job performance, often preceded the suicide attempt. Nine genuine risk factors that occurred significantly more often in the SUG were calculated out of all the stress factors using stepwise logistic regression: 'as a child I was even hit with a stick or whip', 'I had no set orientation in life', 'I had a feeling of loneliness despite family and friends', 'I could not relax', 'incapable of dealing with the public', 'I do not like to be touched', 'parents have psychiatric disorders', 'misuse of stimulants', and 'as a child I felt lonely' (odds ratio, 10.56-1.90).
Conclusion: Adverse family experiences and multiple sociopsychopathological factors may increase the risk of suicide in female bulimic adolescents.