Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts: Comorbidity with depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorder

  • T. Bronisch
  • H. -U. Wittchen
Original Paper


The effect of comorbidity on rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts from an adult general population of former West Germany is investigated. The assessment instrument is a modified German version of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), a fully standardized interview for the assessment of selected DSM-III lifetime diagnoses as well as suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Of the general population 4.1% (2.2% male and 4.1% female) made suicide attempts during their lifetime. Only 2 of 18 people who attempted suicide did not meet criteria for a DSM-III-R diagnosis. Cases with pure major depression did not have an odds ratio for suicide attempts significantly higher than subjects with no DSM-III diagnosis. However, cases with both a major depression and a lifetime-anxiety-disorder diagnosis showed significantly elevated odds ratios. Therefore, it is suggested that comorbidity of anxiety and depression, and not depression itself, seems to be a risk factor for suicide attempts.

Key words

Epidemiology Suicidal ideation Suicide attempts Comorbidity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Bronisch
    • 1
  • H. -U. Wittchen
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical InstituteMax Planck Institute of PsychiatryMunichGermany

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