Life events and suicidality in adolescents with schizophrenia

Silvana Fennig, Netta Horesh, Daphna Aloni, Alan Apter, Abraham Weizman, Shmuel Fennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Suicide is the leading cause of premature death in patients with schizophrenia. Studies have shown a weaker association between suicidal behavior and stressful life events in schizophrenic than in nonschizophrenic subjects. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the complicated relationship of suicide attempts and life events in adolescent schizophrenic patients. Methods: Forty adolescents with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, including 20 who had attempted suicide and 20 who had not, were compared with 20 age-matched subjects with no psychiatric history. The instruments used for the assessment were the Life Events Checklist, the Suicidal Risk Scale, the Sexual Abuse in Childhood Questionnaire, and the Beck Depression Inventory. Results: Control subjects reported fewer life events in general, and fewer negative events, events of sexual abuse, and events associated with impaired family functioning than the schizophrenic patients. Within the schizophrenic group, the suicidal patients reported fewer life events than the nonsuicidal patients, but there was no difference between the groups in the number of negative or sexual-abuse events. However, the proportion of negative life events out of total life events was higher in the suicidal group, and their perceived impact was stronger. Levels of depression and suicidality were higher in the suicidal schizophrenic patients than in the nonsuicidal patients. Conclusions: In adolescent patients with schizophrenia, suicidal behavior is associated less with the number of life events and more with their perception of the events as negative and the impact of these events on the individual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Adolescence
  • Life events
  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicide attempt


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