Trajectories of suicidal ideation in people seeking web-based help for suicidality: Secondary analysis of a Dutch randomized controlled trial

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Background: Suicidal ideation (SI) is a common mental health problem. Variability in intensity of SI over time has been linked to suicidal behavior, yet little is known about the temporal course of SI. 

Objective: The primary aim was to identify prototypical trajectories of SI in the general population and, secondarily, to examine whether receiving Web-based self-help for SI, psychiatric symptoms, or sociodemographics predicted membership in the identified SI trajectories. 

Methods: We enrolled 236 people, from the general Dutch population seeking Web-based help for SI, in a randomized controlled trial comparing a Web-based self-help for SI group with a control group. We assessed participants at inclusion and at 2, 4, and 6 weeks. The Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation was applied at all assessments and was included in latent growth mixture modeling analysis to empirically identify trajectories. 

Results: We identified 4 SI trajectories. The high stable trajectory represented 51.7% (122/236) of participants and was characterized by constant high level of SI. The high decreasing trajectory (50/236, 21.2%) consisted of people with a high baseline SI score followed by a gradual decrease to a very low score. The third trajectory, high increasing (12/236, 5.1%), also had high initial SI score, followed by an increase to the highest level of SI at 6 weeks. The fourth trajectory, low stable (52/236, 22.0%) had a constant low level of SI. Previous attempted suicide and having received Web-based self-help for SI predicted membership in the high decreasing trajectory. 

Conclusions: Many adults experience high persisting levels of SI, though results encouragingly indicate that receiving Web-based self-help for SI increased membership in a decreasing trajectory of SI.

TidsskriftJournal of Medical Internet Research
Udgave nummer6
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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