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Hopelessness in suicide attempters after acute treatment of major depression in late life
Am J Psychiatry 1994;151:1687-1690.
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The relation between hopelessness and suicide attempts in the elderly was examined by studying the course of hopelessness in depressed patients. Sixty-three elderly patients with recurrent major depression were treated with nortriptyline and interpersonal psychotherapy and underwent serial ratings of hopelessness and depression during the acute and continuation phases of treatment. Patients who had made a suicide attempt in the past had significantly higher hopelessness scores than nonattempters during both phases of treatment. They were also more likely to drop out of treatment. A high degree of hopelessness persisting after remission of depression in elderly patients appears to be associated with a history of suicidal behavior. It may also increase the likelihood of premature discontinuation of treatment and lead to future suicide attempts or suicide.

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