Severity of suicidal ideation and mortality in older adults: theoretical and clinical implications

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  • Patrick J. Raue, PhD

    Patrick J. Raue

    Correspondence

    Corresponding author: Dr. Patrick J Raue, Psychiatry Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 21 Bloomingdale Road 2 South White Plains, NY 10605, United States

     

The prospective cohort study by Jonson et al (

1

  • Jonson M
  • Sigstrom R
  • Van Orden K
  • Fassberg MM
  • Skoog I
  • Waern M.
Life-weariness, wish to die, active suicidal ideation, and all-cause mortality in
population-based samples of older adults.

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2022;

 

) in this issue examined the impact of different levels of suicidal ideation on the
3-year all-cause mortality of 2,438 older adults (aged 79+) in Sweden. Previous work
has documented that a variety of indicators of suicidal ideation, such as death wishes,
are related to mortality in older adults (

2

  • Batterham PJ
  • Calear AL
  • Mackinnon AJ
  • Christensen H.
The association between suicidal ideation and increased mortality from natural causes.

 

,

3

  • Fagerström C
  • Welmer AK
  • Elmståhl S
  • Tuvesson H.
Life weariness, suicidal thoughts and mortality: a sixteen-year longitudinal study
among men and women older than 60 years.

 

,

4

  • Raue PJ
  • Morales KH
  • Post EP
  • Bogner HR
  • Have TT
  • Bruce ML.
The wish to die and 5-year mortality in elderly primary care patients.

 

). The current study increases our understanding of possible unique relationships
between different levels of passive and active suicidal ideation and mortality. Conceptualizing
different gradients of passive suicidal ideation in particular, such as life weariness
and wishes to be dead, provides an opportunity to uncover a more fine-grained understanding
of these relationships. Life weariness as a less severe variant of passive suicidal
ideation than wish to die is an interesting construct – one which may historically
be more represented on research scales in comparison to clinical practice. But as
the authors point out, these distinctions may be of both theoretical and clinical
interest.

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References

    • Jonson M
    • Sigstrom R
    • Van Orden K
    • Fassberg MM
    • Skoog I
    • Waern M.

    Life-weariness, wish to die, active suicidal ideation, and all-cause mortality in population-based samples of older adults.

    Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2022;

    • Batterham PJ
    • Calear AL
    • Mackinnon AJ
    • Christensen H.

    The association between suicidal ideation and increased mortality from natural causes.

    J Affect Disord. 2013 Sep 25; 150 (Epub 2013 Apr 23. PMID: 23618327): 855-860https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2013.03.018

    • Fagerström C
    • Welmer AK
    • Elmståhl S
    • Tuvesson H.

    Life weariness, suicidal thoughts and mortality: a sixteen-year longitudinal study among men and women older than 60 years.

    BMC Public Health. 2021 Jul 9; 21 (PMID: 34243751; PMCID: PMC8268207): 1359https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-11329-z

    • Raue PJ
    • Morales KH
    • Post EP
    • Bogner HR
    • Have TT
    • Bruce ML.
Categories: SCIENCE