Bo Runeson´s research group

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Suicide attempt and suicide

Suicide is a public health problem. During the 1980's and 1990's the suicide rate decreased substantially in Sweden, but this development has not continued into the first decade of 2000's. Suicide attempts, on the contrary, have increased dramatically among young females but also in young males.

We are investigating the situation and prognosis after suicide attempt, to improve suicide risk assessment and management.

We have shown that the coexisting psychiatric diagnosis at the suicide attempt affects the rate of later suicide. In subjects with severe mental disorder, such as schizophrenia and affective disorders, the risk is higher than in subjects with less pronounced symptom severity. We have also shown that the method used at the suicide attempt is relevant to the risk of suicide in the shorter and longer run. A violent method implies a higher risk, particularly when severe mental disorder is evident, but also in persons without obvious mental disorder.

We are studying large patient samples with a particular focus on young people and suicidal behaviour. A series of studies concerns the effect of a family history of suicide. Several studies concern violence and suicide in relationship to mental disorder. One study focuses suicide in relationship to university studies. The common aim is to find ways to understand and prevent suicide.

Research Projects

  • Prognosis after suicide attempts in relation to age and gender
  • Comorbidity as a risk factor for suicide in patients who have made previous suicide attempts
  • Change in suicide rate among suicide attempts patients since the 1970's
  • Mortality among clients of the Swedish Prison and Probation Services
  • High risk of suicide in psychiatric patients with violent behaviour
  • Filicide and extended suicide
  • Suicide in bipolar affective disorder
  • Suicide in university students

Selected Publications

Suicide risk after nonfatal self-harm: a national cohort study, 2000-2008.
Runeson B, Haglund A, Lichtenstein P, Tidemalm D
J Clin Psychiatry 2016 Feb;77(2):240-6

Time to hospitalization for suicide attempt by the timing of parental suicide during offspring early development.
Kuramoto S, Runeson B, Stuart E, Lichtenstein P, Wilcox H
JAMA Psychiatry 2013 Feb;70(2):149-57

The interaction of parental history of suicidal behavior and exposure to adoptive parents' psychiatric disorders on adoptee suicide attempt hospitalizations.
Wilcox H, Kuramoto S, Brent D, Runeson B
Am J Psychiatry 2012 Mar;169(3):309-15

Method of attempted suicide as predictor of subsequent successful suicide: national long term cohort study.
Runeson B, Tidemalm D, Dahlin M, Lichtenstein P, Långström N
BMJ 2010 Jul;341():c3222

Risk of suicide after suicide attempt according to coexisting psychiatric disorder: Swedish cohort study with long term follow-up.
Tidemalm D, Långström N, Lichtenstein P, Runeson B
BMJ 2008 Nov;337():a2205

Group members


Axel HaglundAssociated
Bo RunesonResearch team leader, Professor/senior physician
Dag H. TidemalmAssociated
Henrik Landström LysellAssociated
Karin BeckmanGraduate Student
Marie Eriksson DahlinSenior lecturer
Sofie BäärnhielmAssociated
Åsa LindhPhD student