Suicide ideation: its relation to depression, suicide and suicide attempt

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1979 Winter;9(4):205-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278x.1979.tb00439.x.


A random sample of 3,935 adults from a general population were interviewed and asked to report how often they had thoughts of suicide as well as their opinion on the frequency of suicide ideation in others. Depression was found to be related to the respondent's reports of his/her own suicidal thoughts and to reports of frequent suicide ideation in others. A total of 5.4 percent of the respondents reported some degree of suicide ideation in the previous month and 9.1 percent reported that others think about suicide once a month or more. When the demographic characteristics of those who report suicide ideation in themselves or others were compared to those of suicide attempters and committers, some consistencies were found, suggesting that such questions may be useful in identifying those "at risk." Nevertheless, sufficient discrepancies were found which suggest that there may be a number of factors which increase or decrease the likelihood that someone with thoughts of suicide will attempt or commit suicide. Follow-up studies are necessary to uncover such factors and the degrees to which they influence the occurrence of suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*