Risk factors for attempted suicide during adolescence

Academic Article


  • It is unknown whether adolescents can provide the information necessary to identify their risk for attempted suicide. The present study was designed to determine whether data collected directly from adolescents can be used to develop a simple model for differentiating suicidal from nonsuicidal adolescents. Patients aged 13 to 19 years hospitalized for medical complications of serious suicide attempts (n = 56) or for acute illnesses unrelated to injuries or ingestions (n = 248) completed self-administered questionnaires pertaining to psychosocial function, recent stress, alcohol and drug use, and health care use. Compared with ill adolescents, suicidal adolescents had poorer mental health, impulse control, family relationships, and school performence; higher 3-month stress scores and alcohol-use scores; and more use of 7 of 12 drugs (P < .05). Compared with ill adolescents, suicidal adolescents were more likely to report previous suicide attempts (39% vs 10%, P < .001) and previous mental health care (27% vs 8%), P < .001) but were less likely to identify a primary care site (61% vs 87%, P < .001). In a logistic regression model based on previous suicide attempts, previous mental health care, poor school performance, marijuana use, and dependence on the emergency room for primary care, 84% of the suicidal and 55% of the ill adolescents were correctly identified. If validated prospectively, these five self-administered questions may constitute a helpful screen for the rapid identification of suicidal adolescents.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Pediatrics  Journal
  • Author List

  • Slap GB; Vorters DF; Chaudhuri S; Centor RM
  • Start Page

  • 762
  • End Page

  • 772
  • Volume

  • 84
  • Issue

  • 5