Risk factors associated with adolescent suicide attempting
Abramowitz, Elliot Steven
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Multiple risk factors associated with adolescent suicide attempting were studied by comparing attempters with a psychiatric control group and a "normal" control group. A risk factor model was designed and tested. The model included seven predisposing factors and three intrapsychic intervening factors described in the literature as meaningfully related to suicidal behavior in the young. The predisposing factors include history of suicide, familial dysfunction, history of loss, poor academic performance, inadequate peer relations, drug and alcohol abuse, and low socioeconomic status. The intrapsychic intervening factors include low self-esteem, poor ego-development, and depressogenic attributional style of thinking.;Each of the three groups consisted of ten male and twenty female subjects. The attempter group and the psychiatric control group were from the same in-patient psychiatric unit of a voluntary hospital. The second control group was from a local high school. All ninety subjects were given a clinical interview and a battery of tests to measure the myriad of variables studied.;A number of variables discriminated between the three groups, especially between the suicide attempters and the non clinical population. However, only five variables clearly demarcated the attempters with the non attempting hospitalized controls. These variables are suicidal ideation, maternal rejection, family cohesion, self-esteem, and socio-economic status.;The results of the risk factor model reveal four issues that are most predictive of adolescent suicide attempting. They include suicidal ideation, low socio-economic status, poor academic performance, and familial dysfunction. Factors contributing to suicidal ideation were different than those which were most predictive of suicidal behavior.