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Lifetime risk of suicide for affective disorder, alcoholism and schizophrenia

  • Hazel Inskip (a1), Clare Harris (a2) and Brian Barraclough (a2)

Abstract

Background

The lifetime risks of suicide are generally quoted as 15% for affective disorder and alcoholism and 10% for schizophrenia, based on data from 1921–1975 and on calculations performed before computerised modelling techniques became available. This study recalculates the risk using contemporary data and modern techniques.

Method

Twenty-seven mortality studies provided data for affective disorder, 27 for alcohol dependence and 29 for schizophrenia. The proportion of the cohort who had died was plotted against the proportion of deaths from suicide. Modelling techniques fitted curves through the data points extrapolating them to cohort extinction, thus estimating the lifetime risk of suicide for each disorder.

Results

The lifetime risk was estimated at 6% for affective disorder, 7% for alcohol dependence and 4% for schizophrenia.

Conclusions

The lifetime suicide risk figures often quoted in the literature appear to be too high.

Copyright

Corresponding author

B. M. Barraclough, Mental Health Group, Royal South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, Southampton SO14 0YG

References

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Barraclough, J. E. & Gill, D. (1996) Hughes' Outline of Modern Psychiatry (4th edn). Chichester: Wiley.
Gelder, M., Gath, D. & Mayou, R. (1989) Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (2nd edn). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Guze, S. B. & Robins, E. (1970) Suicide and primary affective disorders. British Journal of Psychiatry, 117, 437438.
Harris, E. C. & Barraclough, B. M. (1997) Suicide as an outcome for mental disorders. A meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 205228.
McCullagh, P. & Nelder, J. A. (1989) Generalized Linear Models (2nd edn). London: Chapman and Hall.
Miles, C. P. (1977) Conditions predisposing to suicide: a review. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 164, 231246.
Sims, A. C. P. (1973) Importance of a high tracing-rate in long-term medical follow-up studies. Lancet, ii, 433435.
StataCorp. (1995) STATA Statistical Software: Release 4.0. College Station, TX: Stata Corporation.
World Health Organization (1991) World Health Statistics Annual, pp. 270273. Geneva: WHO.

Lifetime risk of suicide for affective disorder, alcoholism and schizophrenia

  • Hazel Inskip (a1), Clare Harris (a2) and Brian Barraclough (a2)

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Lifetime risk of suicide for affective disorder, alcoholism and schizophrenia

  • Hazel Inskip (a1), Clare Harris (a2) and Brian Barraclough (a2)
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