schizophrenic patients during the long-term course of their illness. We found that more than half of the patients displayed suicidal behaviour at least once during course and that half of these patients attempted suicide. Female schizophrenic patients displayed suicidal symptomatology more frequently than male schizophrenic patients; they also attempted suicide more frequently.
Investigating the seventy-one hospitalisations accompanied by suicidal symptoms (of 402 total admissions), hospitalisations with or without suicidal behaviour did not differ regarding age, marital status, or employment situation of the patient at the time of hospitalisation. No single psychopathological symptom differentiated suicidal and non-suicidal hospitalisations. Regarding positive and negative symptoms, hospitalisations with positive- negative mixed episodes had the highest rate of suicidal behaviour, but this was not statistically significant. In hospitalisations accompanied by depressive symptoms, suicidal symptoms were present in one-third of the cases, but also in 15 per cent of admissions with manifold symptoms besides the schizophrenic picture.
Precipitating factors were found significantly more frequently before admissions accompanied by suicidal symptomatology, but the frequency was not, in fact, high. The presence of residual symptomatology does not seem to change the risk of suicidal behaviour. Patients hospitalised later in the course of the illness are less at risk than first admissions. The most common method of attempted suicide was intoxication with pills; only seldom were 'hard' methods recorded.
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