Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

40 percent of youths attempting suicide make first attempt before high school, study finds

Date:
November 29, 2011
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Thoughts about killing oneself and engaging in suicidal behavior may begin much younger than previously thought. While about one of nine youths attempt suicide by the time they graduate from high school, new findings reveal that a significant proportion make their first suicide attempt in elementary or middle school.

Thoughts about killing oneself and engaging in suicidal behavior may begin much younger than previously thought. While about one of nine youths attempt suicide by the time they graduate from high school, new findings reveal that a significant proportion make their first suicide attempt in elementary or middle school.

Related Articles


In a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, nearly 40 percent of young adults who said they had tried suicide said that they made their first attempt before entering high school.

The researchers also found that suicide attempts during childhood and adolescence were linked to higher scores of depression at the time of the attempts, validating for the first time that young adults can reliably recall when they first attempted suicide.

"Young adults who end up having chronic mental health problems show their struggles early," said James Mazza, lead author and professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington. "This study suggests that implementation of mental health programs may need to start in elementary and middle schools, and that youth in these grades are fairly good reporters of their own mental health."

Adolescence can often be a struggle for some youth with ongoing pressures of drugs, alcohol, sexual relationships and sexual orientation. At the same time, they're becoming more autonomous.

"Adolescence is a time when kids are preparing to be more independent from their parents or guardians, but lack the experience of how to do this," said Mazza, a school psychologist. "And their support network -- their friends -- doesn't have the experience either, especially in crisis situations."

As part of an ongoing survey, Mazza and his collaborators asked 883 young adults aged 18 or 19 about their history of suicide attempts. Seventy-eight respondents, nearly 9 percent, said that they had tried suicide at some point.

Suicide attempt rates showed a sharp increase around sixth grade, about age 12, with rates peaking around eighth or ninth grade. For the 39 respondents reporting multiple suicide attempts, their first attempt was significantly earlier -- as young as 9 -- than those making a single attempt.

Mazza compared the young adults' recollection of their suicide attempts with their past depression scores, which were collected yearly as part of their participation in the Raising Healthy Children project led by Richard Catalano, professor of social work and the director of UW's Social Developmental Research Group.

Depression levels were higher at the time of the youths' reported first suicide attempts compared with their peers who had not attempted suicide. And Mazza found an increase in depression scores at the time of the attempt compared with depression scores the year before and after the attempt for the same child.

"This suggests that kids are able to tell us, by their depression scores, that things aren't going well for them," Mazza said. "We're likely not giving kids enough credence in assessing their own mental health, and this study shows that we can rely on self-report measures to help identify youth who may be at risk for current mental health concerns, including possible suicidal behavior."

The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded the study. Other co-authors are Robert Abbott, UW educational psychology professor; and Richard Catalano, director, and Kevin Haggerty, assistant director, of UW's Social Developmental Research Group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Molly McElroy, News and Information. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James J. Mazza, Richard F. Catalano, Robert D. Abbott, Kevin P. Haggerty. An Examination of the Validity of Retrospective Measures of Suicide Attempts in Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2011; 49 (5): 532 DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.04.009

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "40 percent of youths attempting suicide make first attempt before high school, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111128120146.htm>.
University of Washington. (2011, November 29). 40 percent of youths attempting suicide make first attempt before high school, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111128120146.htm
University of Washington. "40 percent of youths attempting suicide make first attempt before high school, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111128120146.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins