European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 174–180

Suicidality in adjustment disorder

Clinical characteristics of adolescent outpatients
  • Mirjami Pelkonen
  • Mauri Marttunen
  • Markus Henriksson
  • Jouko Lönnqvist



Although a remarkable proportion of adolescents suffering from adjustment disorder (AD) are suicidal, few studies have documented the characteristics of suicidal AD patients. We examined background, psychopathology and treatment-related factors among suicidal adolescent AD outpatients.


Data on 302 consecutively referred psychiatric outpatient adolescents, aged 12–22 years, were collected. DSM-III-R diagnoses were assigned at the end of treatment based on all available data. Of the patients 89 received a diagnosis of AD, 25% of whom showed suicide attempts, suicidal threats or ideation.


Compared with non-suicidal AD patients, suicidal AD patients were characterized by previous psychiatric treatment (OR=6.1), poor psychosocial functioning at treatment entry (OR=16.2), suicide as a stressor (OR=33.3), dysphoric mood (OR=6.9) and psychomotor restlessness (OR=3.7).


Common risk factors for suicidality in major psychiatric disorders characterized suicidal AD patients. Psychiatric assessment of AD patients should include careful monitoring of both symptomatology and exposure to suicide of significant others.

Key words

suicidality adolescence adjustment disorder psychiatric treatment precipitant stressors 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirjami Pelkonen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mauri Marttunen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Markus Henriksson
    • 4
  • Jouko Lönnqvist
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health and Alcohol ResearchNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Adolescent PsychiatryPeijas Hospital Helsinki University HospitalVantaaFinland
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  4. 4.Central Military Hospital, Finnish Defence ForcesHelsinkiFinland

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