Article

Psychosocial and Risk Behavior Correlates of Youth Suicide Attempts and Suicidal Ideation

Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT 06520-7900, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.35). 08/2001; 40(7):837-46. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-200107000-00019
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To identify the independent psychosocial and risk behavior correlates of suicidal ideation and attempts.
The relationships between suicidal ideation or attempts and family environment, subject characteristics, and various risk behaviors were examined among 1,285 randomly selected children and adolescents, aged 9 through 17 years, of whom 42 (3.3%) had attempted suicide and 67 (5.2%) had expressed suicidal ideation only. The youths and their parents were enumerated and interviewed between December 1991 and July 1992 as part of the NIMH Methods for the Epidemiology of Child and Adolescent Mental Disorders (MECA) Study.
Compared with subjects with suicidal ideation only, attempters were significantly more likely to have experienced stressful life events, to have become sexually active, to have smoked more than one cigarette daily, and to have a history of ever having smoked marijuana. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, a statistically significant association was found between suicidal ideation or attempt and stressful life events, poor family environment, parental psychiatric history, low parental monitoring, low instrumental and social competence, sexual activity, marijuana use, recent drunkenness, current smoking, and physical fighting. Even after further adjusting for the presence of a mood, anxiety, or disruptive disorder, a significant association persisted between suicidal ideation or attempts and poor family environment, low parental monitoring, low youth instrumental competence, sexual activity, recent drunkenness, current smoking, and physical fighting.
Low parental monitoring and risk behaviors (such as smoking, physical fighting, alcohol intoxication, and sexual activity) are independently associated with increased risk of suicidal ideation and attempts, even after adjusting for the presence of psychiatric disorder and sociodemographic variables.

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    • "Substance use in adolescence is also related to later adult problems (Chassin et al., 1999; Trim, Meehan, King, & Chassin, 2007), including binge drinking or the use of hard drugs, which can undermine young adult emotional, physical, and economic well-being (Chassin et al., 1999). Other risky behaviors related to adolescent suicidal behaviors include illegal activities, fighting and life-threatening activities, legal problems, and incarceration (King et al., 2001). Such activities can influence adult well-being and lead to subsequent social marginalization that increases vulnerability to suicide in adulthood (Fergusson et al., 2000; Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Arata, Bowers, O'Brien, & Morgan, 2004). "
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    • "In a community probability sample of 9–17 year olds, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts were associated with risk-taking behaviors such as substance use, early onset of sexual intercourse and physical Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jad fighting independent of psychiatric diagnosis (King et al., 2001); moreover, covariation was found between each of the types of risk-taking behaviors, including suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (Flisher et al., 2000). Despite these associations, only one study of which we are aware has explored the potential role of sensation seeking as a risk factor for suicide attempts in adolescence . "
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