QIMR Berghofer

The role of hallucinatory experiences in the transition from suicidal thoughts to attempts: A theoretical and data-driven approach to examining the association.


OBJECTIVE: Psychotic experiences, including auditory hallucinatory experiences (HEs), are strongly associated with both suicidal thoughts and behaviour. This study examined their role in the ideation-to-attempt transition in adolescents, including their direct and indirect effect via potential mediators. METHODS: Participants were from an Australian prospective longitudinal cohort of 1669 adolescents (12-17 years); of which a subsample endorsing baseline suicidal ideation (n=216) was the focus of most analyses. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours were measured using the Self-Harm Behaviour Questionnaire. Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children was used to assess auditory HEs. Potential mediators of interest were psychological distress and Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (IPTS) constructs. RESULTS: Among adolescents reporting suicidal ideation at baseline (n=216), 6.5% had attempted suicide during follow-up. The size of auditory HEs' univariate effect suggests a possible strong relationship with increased risk of incident suicide attempts (OR=2.40; 95%CI=0.76-7.56); however, there was inadequate statistical power to produce a precise estimate. When HEs were accompanied by distress there was a nine-fold increased risk of acting on suicidal thoughts. Distress was independently associated with risk of attempt transition (OR=4.09), whereas IPTS constructs were poor explanatory variables in most models. CONCLUSION: Adolescents with psychological distress and auditory HEs are at high risk of incident suicide attempts. Further investigations on the role of negative/distressing content of hallucinations in the ideation-to-attempt transition are warranted.

Authors Hielscher, Emily; DeVylder, Jordan; Connell, Melissa; Hasking, Penelope; Martin, Graham; Scott, James G
Pages 241-253
Volume 141
Date 1/11/2019
Grant ID
Funding Body National Health and Medical Research Council - Practitioner Fellowship
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1111/acps.13128
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