Suicidal ideation and attempts in unipolar versus bipolar depression: analysis of 131,740 adolescent inpatients nationwide

Rikinkumar S. Patel, Henry Onyeaka, Nagy A. Youssef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective To evaluate the risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt in adolescents with unipolar depression (UD) versus bipolar depression (BD). Method We included 131,740 adolescents (12-17y), with primary diagnoses of UD (92.6%) and BD (7.4%) from the nationwide inpatient sample. We calculated odds ratio (OR) for suicidal behaviors using logistic regression adjusted for demographic confounders and comorbidities. Results Suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt were seen in 14.5% and 38.6% respectively of total inpatients and both were seen in higher proportion of UD. Females have higher odds for suicidal attempt (OR 1.13, 95%CI 1.09–1.16) compared to males. After adjusting for confounders, UD had a marginally higher odds (OR 1.06, 95%CI 1.02–1.11) of suicidal attempt and 1.2 times higher odds (95%CI 1.11–1.26) of suicidal ideation compared to BD. Among adolescents with suicidal attempt, 93.2% had bipolar depression and 6.8% had unipolar depression.The majority of suicidal attempt in the inpatient setting was seen in females, with bipolar depression (74.6% vs. 67.3% in unipolar). Conclusion Our finding is clinically relevant and accentuates the need for early identification of BD, accurate differentiation of UD versus BD for targeted and adequate treatment to minimize suicidal behaviors, treat and manage them per treatment guidelines, and evolving research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113231
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Bipolar depression
  • Inpatients
  • Major depression
  • Suicide risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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