Characteristics associated with non-disclosure of suicidal ideation in adults

Saskia Mérelle*, Elise Foppen, Renske Gilissen, Jan Mokkenstorm, Resi Cluitmans, Wouter Van Ballegooijen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Suicide prevention efforts often depend on the willingness or ability of people to disclose current suicidal behavior. The aim of this study is to identify characteristics that are associated with non-disclosure of suicidal ideation. Data from the Dutch cross-sectional survey Health Monitor 2016 were used, resulting in 14,322 respondents (age 19+). Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the strength of the associations between demographics and health-related characteristics as independent variables, and non-disclosure of suicidal ideation as the dependent variable. The mean age of the respondents was 60 years (SD 16.7) and 45% were male. Of these adults, 5% (n = 719) reported suicidal ideation in the past year, nearly half of which (48%) did not disclose suicidal ideation. Non-disclosure was significantly associated with social loneliness (OR = 1.29). Inverse significant associations were found for age (35–49 years, OR = 0.53), poor health status (OR = 0.63), frequent suicidal ideation (OR = 0.48), and severe psychological distress (OR = 0.63). The accuracy of this model was fair (AUC = 0.73). To conclude, non-disclosure is a substantial problem in adults experiencing suicidal ideation. Adults who do not disclose suicidal ideation are more likely to have few social contacts, while they are less likely to experience poor (mental) health and frequent suicidal thoughts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number943
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018


Research Department, 113 Suicide Prevention, 1100 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands; (R.G.); (J.M.) Public Health Service (GGD) Kennemerland, 2015 CK Haarlem, The Netherlands; (E.F.); (R.C.) Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU University Medical Center, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Research & Innovation, GGZ inGeest, Specialized Mental Health Care, 1070 BB Amsterdam, The Netherlands Faculty of Clinical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands Correspondence: Thanks to the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and GGDGHOR Nederland for thinking out the study design of the ‘Health Monitor Adults and Elderly 2016 study’. Thanks to the local health authorities for their participation in the project group of region Kennemerland, contributing to the extra theme on suicidal ideation in this survey. Thanks to Public Health Service Fryslân for the use of their question on non-disclosure of suicidal ideation. The ‘Health Monitor Adults and Elderly 2016 study’ is predominantly financed by the local health authorities in region Kennemerland.

FundersFunder number
Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute
Department of Research & Innovation
VU University
U.S. Public Health Service
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
GGZ InGeest
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu


    • Adults
    • Epidemiology
    • Non-disclosure
    • Public health
    • Risk factors
    • Suicidal ideation
    • Suicide prevention


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