Suicide risk in young people at Ultra-High Risk (UHR) of psychosis: Findings from a 2-year longitudinal study

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Suicide risk is high in first episode schizophrenia. Little data are available in young individuals at Ultra-High Risk (UHR) of psychosis. Purposes of the study were: (1) to assess prevalence and incidence rates of suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, and completed suicide in UHR individuals compared with First Episode Psychosis (FEP) and non-FEP/UHR help-seeking peers at baseline and over a 24-month follow-up time, and (2) to explore any association of suicidal ideation with other psychopathological parameters at baseline.

METHODS: 273 young people (13-35 years) were evaluated with the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS), the Beck Depression Inventory - II Edition (BDI), and the World Health Organization Quality Of Life scale - Brief version (WHOQOL-BREF). The BDI item 9 cut-off score of ≥1 dichotomized the presence/absence of suicidal ideation.

RESULTS: UHR individuals showed more severe suicidal ideation and a higher percentage of individuals with a history of attempted suicide than FEP and non-UHR/FEP samples, and a higher 2-year incidence rate of suicide attempts than non-UHR/FEP subjects. No inter-group differences in incidence rates of completed suicide were found. In the UHR group, suicidal ideation was associated with BDI-II and CAARMS "Anhedonia" scores, and showed a negative correlation with all WHOQOL-BREF scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Suicidal ideation is frequent in UHR subjects, supporting the routine monitoring of suicide risk in people at risk of psychosis. Suicide risk is correlated with severity of depression and anhedonia, and with a poorer quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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