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Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation and Related Risk Factors in the German General Population

Forkmann, Thomas PhD*; Brähler, Elmar PhD; Gauggel, Siegfried PhD*; Glaesmer, Heide PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: May 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 5 - p 401–405
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31825322cf
Original Articles

The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation in a representative sample of the German general population and examined its relation to potential risk factors. The study sample consisted of 2509 persons. Mean age was 49.4 years (SD, 18.2 years; 55.8% women). Participants filled in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and two items from the Rasch-based Depression Screening measuring suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation was reported by 8.0% (n = 211) of all participants. People reporting suicidal ideation were less likely to be married or living together with a partner and to have children aged 6 to 13 years and were more likely to be divorced. They reported significantly higher levels of a depressive syndrome (t = 17.78; p < 0.001) and an anxiety syndrome (t = 18.43; p < 0.001). The study showed high point prevalence for suicidal ideation in the general German population. In concordance with results from similar studies in other countries, living alone and reporting anxious and depressive syndromes was associated with suicidal ideation.

*Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Hospital of RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany; and †Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Thomas Forkmann, PhD, Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Hospital of RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 19, 52074 Aachen, Germany. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.