A Follow-up Study of Adolescent Attempted Suicide in Israel

Ilana Farbstein, Anat Dycian, Doron Gothelf, Robert A. King, Donald J. Cohen, Shmuel Kron, Alan Apter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: (1) To compare the outcome of adolescent subjects who have made a suicide attempt with the outcome of matched controls, using their psychological and psychometric screening tests for military service at age 16.5 years. Their subsequent performance during military service between ages 18 and 21 was also evaluated. (2) To compare the prognosis of those attempters who received intensive psychiatric inpatient evaluation in a general hospital with the prognosis of those who received emergency room treatment only. Method: The computerized military records of 216 adolescents, who had been treated between 1987 and 1988 for attempted suicide in a general hospital emergency room, prior to their induction into the army, were evaluated. They were rated on the following tests: cognitive/educational performance and psychosocial adaptation, psychiatric and psychological health diagnoses, and performance during their military service between 1989 and 1992. Results: Although the female attempters had slightly more problems in the military than the controls, their overall prognosis was surprisingly good. The male suicide attempters did very poorly in their subsequent military service. There was no long-term advantage in having had a psychiatric evaluation performed in a hospital over a brief emergency room evaluation. Most differences between attempters and controls were in service performance, rather than in cognitive and psychometric tests. Conclusions: There may be marked differences between the sexes in the significance of attempted suicide and in the indications for intervention. The policy of mandatory general hospitalization for suicide attempters may need reevaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1342-1349
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Gender
  • Intervention
  • Prognosis
  • Suicide

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