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Very few studies have examined the cross-national prevalence of suicidal
ideation in the general population or variables associated with it.
To examine the risk factors for suicidal ideas in the general
As part of a five-country two stage epidemiological study of depressive
disorder (the ODIN study) a random sample of over 12 000 people were
screened using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). There followed
detailed analysis of item 9 of the BDI, which measured the severity of
Age, marriage, concern by others and severity of depressed mood
independently increased or decreased the odds of suicidal ideation
overall. An interaction between life events and social supports was
identified, although this differed between men and women. Only concern by
others and severity of depression were independently associated with
serious suicidal ideation. The study does not allow for interpretation of
the direction of the association.
A number of social, clinical and demographic variables were independently
associated with all suicidal ideation and with serious suicidal ideation.
Longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether these are risk
factors for or the result of suicidal ideation or have some other
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