Suicidal thinking and behaviours in First Episode Psychosis: Findings from a 3-year longitudinal study

Lorenzo Pelizza, Maurizio Pompili, Silvia Azzali, Federica Paterlini, Sara Garlassi, Ilaria Scazza, Luigi Rocco Chiri, Michele Poletti, Simona Pupo, Andrea Raballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Suicide risk is greater at the beginning of the course of psychosis. Purpose of this research was: (a) to investigate prevalence and incidence rates of suicide attempts, suicidal thinking and completed suicide in First Episode Psychosis (FEP) help-seekers as compared with non-FEP help-seeking peers, and (b) to examine any correlation of suicidal ideation with other baseline psychopathological predictors. Methods: Two hundred and forty-one young people (13-35 years) were assessed with the World Health Organization Quality Of Life scale - Brief version (WHOQOL-BREF), the Beck Depression Inventory - II Edition (BDI-II) and the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS) at the enrollment and over a 36-month follow-up period. A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis to calculate cumulative incidence rates of attempted and completed suicide was used. Results: FEP patients showed more severe levels of CAARMS “Suicidality/Self-Harm” item than non-FEP peers. They also had higher 3-year incidence rates of attempted suicide (11%) and completed suicide (13%). Within the FEP total group, suicidal ideation was positively correlated with BDI-II and CAARMS “Perceptual Abnormalities” item scores, and showed negative associations with younger age and WHOQOL-BREF “Social Relationships” factor sub-score. Conclusions: Suicidal ideation is relevant in FEP patents, supporting the routine monitoring of suicide risk in baseline assessment of adolescents and young adults with early psychosis. Suicidal thinking seems to be correlated to younger age, perceptual aberrations and depression severity, as well as to poorer quality of social relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-633
Number of pages10
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • early psychosis
  • First Episode Psychosis
  • suicidal ideation
  • suicide
  • suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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