Prospective prediction of first lifetime suicide attempts in a multi-site study of substance users

Zoë M. Trout, Evelyn M. Hernandez, Evan M. Kleiman, Richard T. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although considerable empirical work has been devoted to identifying risk factors for suicide attempts, most longitudinal research has studied recurrent attempts rather than first lifetime attempts. The present study sought to examine prospective predictors of first lifetime suicide attempts among adults receiving treatment for substance use. Data were drawn from the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study, a study of addiction treatment programs. Data were collected at treatment intake, treatment exit, and one year post-treatment. Patients (n = 3518) with no lifetime history of suicide attempts at treatment intake were followed at treatment exit and one year post-treatment, when they reported on the occurrence of suicide attempts since the prior assessment. Prospective suicidal behavior was assessed using logistic regression in relation to sociodemographic variables, health-related work impairment, history of psychiatric treatment utilization, history of suicidal ideation, history of depressive symptoms, substance use, and childhood abuse, assessed at intake. Health-related work impairment, history of suicidal ideation, and childhood physical abuse significantly predicted first lifetime attempts in a multivariate analysis. Suicidal ideation, health-related functional impairments, and childhood physical abuse may be particularly important in assessing risk for first lifetime suicide attempts. Findings suggest that future clinical work and research would benefit from considering these factors when identifying individuals at heightened risk of making a first suicide attempt.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Longitudinal study
  • Substance use
  • Suicide


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