Psychotic Experiences and Schizotypy in Early Adolescence Predict Subsequent Suicidal Ideation Trajectories and Suicide Attempt Outcomes From Age 18 to 38 Years

Schizophr Bull. 2021 Mar 16;47(2):456-464. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbaa151.


Subclinical risk markers for schizophrenia predict suicidality, but little is known about the nature of the relationship. Suicidal ideation is often considered homogenous, but distinguishing passive from active ideation (ie, thoughts of death vs thoughts of killing oneself) and different temporal patterns may further the understanding of risk factors. We tested whether schizotypy and psychotic experiences (PEs) in early adolescence predict subsequent growth trajectories of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt outcomes. Participants were 1037 members of the population-representative Dunedin Study cohort. PE was measured at 11 years and schizotypy at 13 and 15 years. Outcomes were passive and active suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt, measured at 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 years. Passive ideation was best represented by 2 trajectories, including persistent and transient ideation classes. Schizotypy predicted membership in the smaller persistent class (odds ratio [OR] = 1.21, P = .041), whereas PE was not associated with class membership. The probability of suicide attempts was 13.8% in the persistent ideation class, compared with 1.8% in the transient class. Active ideation was best represented by a 1-class model, the intercept of which was predicted by schizotypy (OR = 1.23, P = .015). Suicide attempts were predicted by schizotypy (OR = 1.53, P = .040) and PE (OR = 3.42, P = .046), and this was partially mediated by indirect effects via the active ideation trajectory. Findings indicate that adolescent schizotypy and PE are related to subsequent suicidal ideation and attempts. Suicidal ideation is heterogeneous, and schizotypy is specifically related to a persistent passive ideation subgroup.

Keywords: active ideation; growth mixture modeling; longitudinal; passive ideation; subclinical psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult