Estimating Suicide Risk Among Inpatients Treated for Depressive Disorders

  • R. Vogel
  • M. G. Wolfersdorf


Patients with depressive disorders belong to those most at risk for suicide. Pöldinger (1980) even calls them the groups having the highest risk of all. Thus, one of the most important problems concerning the inpatient treatment of patients with depressive disorders is the question of how to deal with suicidal patients to make suicidal behavior superfluous. An important step in this direction is the attempt to recognize suicidal impulses and signals early. We have to ask on which basis or according to which criteria a potential risk may be recognized fairly exactly in patients with depressive disorders. With regard to the identification of such criteria, one could fall back upon the following categorized methods:
  1. 1.

    Standard psychological tests

  2. 2.

    So-called risk scales

  3. 3.

    Clinical assessment usually based on the presence or absence of psychopathological symptoms

Considering only the two last methods, the following problems with regard to the usefulness of their application may be stated: First, the existing results are partly based on very different samples, e.g., hospitalized psychiatric patients (e.g., Farberow and MacKinnon 1974; Zung 1974; Motto and Heilbron 1976), subjects from the general population (e.g., Tuckman and Youngman 1968), and clients of a suicide prevention center (Lettieri 1974).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Vogel
  • M. G. Wolfersdorf

There are no affiliations available

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