Anxiety symptoms are linked to new-onset suicidal ideation after six months of follow-up in outpatients with major depressive disorder

J Affect Disord. 2015 Nov 15;187:183-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.08.006. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


Background: Suicide risk evaluation is one of the most challenging assessments of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Initial risk evaluation might be insufficient in predicting emergence of suicidal ideation during the maintenance period. We aimed to elucidate factors associated with emergence or persistence of suicidal ideation 6 months after initiation of outpatient treatment in patients with MDD.

Methods: A total of 300 participants with MDD defined by DSM-IV-TR criteria underwent face-to-face interview at baseline and follow-up phone interview at 6 months later. Severity of depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety were evaluated.

Results: Among participants who did not report any suicidal idea at baseline, 10.9% reported suicidal ideation during the 6-month phone interview, while 28.4% of participants who reported suicidal ideation at baseline reported suicidal ideation during the phone interview. No significant difference in remission rate of depression was observed between the groups, but subjects without suicidal ideation at baseline had a higher rate of symptom improvement at the 6-month phone interview. After controlling for age, sex, baseline severity of suicide risk and depression and lifetime history of suicide attempts, emergence of suicidal ideation was significantly associated with anxiety level at baseline (t=2.127, p=0.039) and severity of depression symptoms at 6 month (t=-3.028, p=0.004); persistence of suicidal ideation was associated with severity of depression symptoms at 6 month (t=-4.962, p<0.001).

Limitation: Follow-up evaluation was done by phone interview.

Conclusion: Anxiety at baseline needs to be carefully evaluated in assessing suicide risk of patients with MDD.

Keywords: Depression; Phone interview; Suicide; anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted