Suicidality in adjustment disorder
- Cite this article as:
- Pelkonen, M., Marttunen, M., Henriksson, M. et al. Europ.Child & Adolescent Psych (2005) 14: 174. doi:10.1007/s00787-005-0457-8
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.