Self-harm and suicide attempts in Schizophrenia

Asian J Psychiatr. 2017 Dec:30:102-106. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2017.08.012. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


Background: The risk of suicide among persons with schizophrenia (SZ) is higher than in general population, with multiple contributory factors. We assessed the prevalence of risk of deliberate self-harm and suicide attempts, along with associated socio-demographic and clinical factors in a group of SZ outpatients (n=61) as part of a larger study on overall schizophrenia-associated risks.

Aims: To investigate factors associated with risk of deliberate self-harm and suicide among persons with schizophrenia.

Method: Out of 270 SZ participants evaluated for various risks using Ram Manohar Lohia Risk Assessment Interview (RML-RAI), 61 reported risk of self-harm including suicide attempt/s. The factors associated with this risk were further evaluated on clinical details and Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies.

Results: Risk of reported self-harm was 22.59%. Among them, 10% had attempted suicide at least once. Current age and past month Global Assessment of Functioning score from DIGS (GAF) were significantly correlated with suicide attempt. Attempters had significantly lower current GAF score, indicating poorer functioning. Among 27 attempters, 9 attempted at the onset of illness while 6 others attempted suicide within one year. Most common method of attempt was ingestion of insecticides or overdose of medication, followed by hanging or jumping from height.

Conclusion: In our hospital-based sample of suicide attempters, 10% had attempted suicide, among them over 55% within first year of illness. Attempters were significantly older than non-attempters and suffered from significantly more severe illness than non-attempters. Positive symptoms were significantly associated with attempt, irrespective of time at which suicide was attempted.

Keywords: GAF; Risk; Schizophrenia; Self-harm; Suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*