Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

A controlled examination of acute warning signs for suicide attempts among hospitalized patients.

Bagge CL, Littlefield AK, Wiegand TJ, Hawkins E, Trim RS, Schumacher JA, Simons K, Conner KR. A controlled examination of acute warning signs for suicide attempts among hospitalized patients. Psychological medicine. 2023 May 1; 53(7):2768-2776.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Near-term risk factors for suicidal behavior, referred to as 'warning signs' (WS), distinguish periods of acute heightened risk from periods of lower risk within an individual. No prior published study has examined, using a controlled study design, a broad set of hypothesized WS for suicide attempt. This study addressed this gap through examination of hypothesized behavioral/experiential, cognitive, and affective WS among patients recently hospitalized following a suicide attempt. METHODS: Participants were recruited during hospitalization from five medical centers across the USA including two civilian hospitals and three Veterans Health Administration facilities ( = 349). A within-person case-crossover study design was used, where each patient served as her/his own control. WS were measured by the Timeline Follow-back for Suicide Attempts Interview and were operationalized as factors that were present ( absent) or that increased in frequency/intensity within an individual during the 6 h preceding the suicide attempt (case period) compared to the corresponding 6 h on the day before (control period). RESULTS: Select WS were associated with near-term risk for suicide attempt including suicide-related communications, preparing personal affairs, drinking alcohol, experiencing a negative interpersonal event, and increases in key affective (e.g. emptiness) and cognitive (e.g. burdensomeness) responses. CONCLUSIONS: The identification of WS for suicidal behavior can enhance risk recognition efforts by medical providers, patients, their families, and other stakeholders that can serve to inform acute risk management decisions.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.