Suicide is a leading cause of preventable death, especially among individuals with psychotic disorders, and may also be common among nonclinical populations of adults with subthreshold psychotic experiences. Understanding this association has the potential to critically bolster suicide prevention efforts.
To examine the association between 12-month suicidality and 12-month psychotic experiences and to test the hypotheses that psychotic experiences are associated with increased prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts during the concurrent period and with greater severity of suicidal behavior.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Cross-sectional survey data were drawn from a large general population-based sample of households in the United States identified through the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (2001-2003). Adult household residents (n = 11,716) were selected using a clustered multistage sampling design with oversampling of racial/ethnic minority groups. Logistic regression models were adjusted for potential demographic confounders and co-occurring DSM-IV mental health conditions.
Twelve-month psychotic experiences assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0 psychosis screen.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Twelve-month suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
Respondents reporting psychotic experiences were more likely to report concurrent suicidal ideation (odds ratio [OR], 5.24; 95% CI, 2.85-9.62) and suicide attempts (OR, 9.48; 95% CI, 3.98-22.62). Most respondents with psychotic experiences (mean [SE], 65.2% [4.2%]) met criteria for a DSM-IV depressive, anxiety, or substance use disorder. Among respondents with suicidal ideation, those with psychotic experiences were likely to make an attempt during the concurrent 12-month period (OR, 3.49; 95% CI, 1.05-11.58) when adjusting for co-occurring psychiatric disorders. In contrast, depressive (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 0.62-4.52), anxiety (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 0.40-6.09), and substance use disorders (OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 0.24-11.17) did not reliably identify those at risk for attempts among respondents with suicidal ideation. The mean (SE) 12-month prevalence of suicide attempts among individuals reporting ideation and psychotic experiences and meeting criteria for any psychiatric disorder was 47.4% (10.9%) compared with 18.9% (4.8%) among those with just ideation and a disorder. Psychotic experiences were especially prevalent among individuals reporting severe attempts and may account for nearly one-third of attempts with intent to die (population attributable risk, 29.01%) in the United States annually.
Conclusions and Relevance
Assessment of psychotic experiences among individuals with suicidal ideation has potential clinical and public health utility in reducing the prevalence of suicide attempts, particularly attempts with intent to die.