Suicide among female adolescents: characteristics and comparison with males in the age group 13 to 22 years.

National Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health, Helsinki, Finland.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.35). 11/1995; 34(10):1297-307. DOI: 10.1097/00004583-199510000-00015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To characterize female suicides (n = 19) in an unselected nationwide youth suicide population aged 13 to 22 years (n = 116) and to compare them with male suicides with respect to variables indicating psychopathology and psychosocial functioning.
The data were collected in a psychological autopsy study of all suicides (N = 1,397) in Finland during a 12-month period. Data collection included interviews of next of kin and professionals and information from records after the suicide.
Two thirds (68%) of the female victims had suffered from a mood disorder, and 73% had communicated their suicidal intent. Half (47%) of the female subjects had been in psychiatric care at some point in their lives, and 42% had been hospitalized. Compared with young male suicides, the young female victims more often had made previous suicide attempts (63% versus 30%), received more often a diagnosis of major depression (37% versus 14%), and had more often been in psychiatric care (47% versus 21%) during the year preceding the suicide. The females were more often incapable of working, and their psychosocial impairment was more severe during the final week. Alcohol abuse was almost as common among the female as the male victims (21% versus 26%).
The results suggest that young females who commit suicide may have suffered from more severe psychopathology than young male victims. Substance abuse seems to be a major factor also in female suicides. Preventive efforts within psychiatric care are likely to reach a higher proportion of the young females than males at high risk for suicide.

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