Suicidal ideation and risk levels among primary care patients with uncomplicated depression.


Journal Article

PURPOSE: We investigated the prevalence, severity, and course of passive and active suicidal ideation occurring in primary care patients with an uncomplicated depressive disorder. METHODS: We studied suicidal ideation experienced by patients recruited in 60 primary care practices participating in a randomized controlled trial of depression management. Risk levels associated with suicidal ideation and plans were determined by a 2-stage procedure using pertinent items of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-20, and the Cornell structured assessment interview and management algorithm. RESULTS: Of the 761 patients whom physicians judged in need of treatment for a clinical depression, 405 (53%) were experiencing uncomplicated dysthymia, major depression, or both. Among these depressed patients, about 90% had no risk or a low risk of self-harm based on the presence and nature of suicidal ideation; the rest had an intermediate risk. Almost all patients who were initially classified at the no or low risk levels remained at these levels during the subsequent 6 months. The incidence of suicidal ideation at a risk level requiring the physician's immediate attention in this no- or low-risk subgroup was 1.1% at 3 months and 2.6% at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Almost all patients with uncomplicated dysthymia, major depression, or both acknowledging suicidal ideation of the minimal risk type when initially assessed maintained this minimal risk status during the subsequent 6 months.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schulberg, HC; Lee, PW; Bruce, ML; Raue, PJ; Lefever, JJ; Williams, JW; Dietrich, AJ; Nutting, PA

Published Date

  • November 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 3 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 523 - 528

PubMed ID

  • 16338916

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16338916

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1544-1717

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1370/afm.377


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States