Suicidal behavior in schizophrenia: A test of the demoralization hypothesis

Kathleen Restifo, Jill M. Harkavy-Friedman, Patrick E. Shrout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined Drake's model that individuals with schizophrenia with good premorbid adjustment and insight into their illness are more vulnerable to becoming demoralized and therefore suicidal. One hundred sixty-four patients with schizophrenia (N = 115) or schizoaffective disorder (N = 49) were assessed for depressive symptoms and DSM-III-R depression, premorbid functioning, insight and suicidal behavior using The Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies and the Premorbid Adjustment Scale. Premorbid adjustment, insight and past MDE did not discriminate attempters from nonattempters, contrary to the model. However, consistent with the model, the interaction between good premorbid adjustment and insight predicted severity of depressive symptoms, and the psychological symptoms of depression significantly differentiated attempters from nonattempters, whereas the somatic symptoms did not. This study provides support for some aspects of the demoralization model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Depression
  • Insight
  • Premorbid adjustment
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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