Fatal and non-fatal suicidal behavior in Israeli adolescent males

Alan Apter, Robert A. King, Avi Bleich, Avi Fluck, Moshe Kotler, Shmuel Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study is examine the similarities and differences between adolescent suicide completers, adolescents with non-fatal suicidal symptoms, and non-suicidal psychiatric controls in an epidemiologic sample. Using the central Israeli military medical registry, 214 18-21 year old males from the same national service cohort were identified, consisting of 43 consecutive completed suicides and 171 consecutive central psychiatric clinic outpatients presenting with near-fatal suicide attempts, serious suicide attempts, para-suicidal gestures, threats, ideation, or other non-suicidal complaints. Systematic pre-induction and service data were available for all subjects, with detailed postmortem inquest data for suicides. Systematic clinical data, including the Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS), Hamilton Depression Scale, and Eysenck Personality Inventory were obtained on all clinic subjects. Major depression was present in half of completers, near-lethal attempters, and ideators, but absent in the other clinic groups, whose commonest diagnosis was adjustment disorder. Depression scores increased across groups with increasing intent; ideators also had high scores. Completers and near-lethal attempters had higher I.Q. and medical fitness ratings and were in more demanding assignments than other groups. Prior attempts were commonest in completers, near-lethal attempters, and gesturers. Disciplinary history, ethnicity, family intactness, immigrant status, and Eysenck Personality Inventory scores did not differentiate the groups. The findings may not be generalizable to female adolescents or to other countries or time periods. The findings thus point to contrasts, as well as similarities, between groups of adolescents with different types of suicidal symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Israel
  • Military psychiatry
  • Suicide


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