Cognitive flexibility in inpatient children and adolescents with a history of suicide attempts

Liat Itzhaky*, Elena Chubarov, John G. Keilp, Liat Shbiro, Tomer Levy, Gil Zalsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increase in suicide rates during adolescence has made it the second leading cause of death for this age group. While potential deficits in cognitive flexibility have been thought to contribute to suicidality, this factor has been evaluated in only a few studies among this age group. The current study sought to evaluate cognitive flexibility in 100 psychiatric inpatient children and adolescents (age X=14.39, SD=2.53), with (n=26) and without (n=74) a history of suicide attempts, using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Results showed no differences between the groups in WCST scores. However, in a small sub-sample with mood disorders only, those with a history of a suicide attempt performed better than those without such history. These findings are contrary to our hypothesis that those who attempted suicide have worse cognitive flexibility, though consistent with earlier data in adults. Further research is needed to shed light on these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115067
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Suicide attempt
  • Wisconsin card sorting test


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