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Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts

Date:
February 11, 2015
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Positive relations between youth and their parents can be key to preventing adolescent suicide attempts, according to research. Suicide is the third-leading cause of adolescent death worldwide.
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Positive relations between youth and their parents can be key to preventing adolescent suicide attempts, according to the University of British Columbia (UBC) research.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of adolescent death worldwide, and is responsible for a quarter of all adolescent deaths in Canada. The research examines the link between parental bonding -- a term describing the quality of a parent-child relationship -- and a history of suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Numerous studies suggest that positive parental relationships reduce adolescents' risk of experiencing depression, loneliness and suicide. "However, it has been unclear whether positive adolescent-parent relations protect against suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or both," says Boaz Saffer, the study's lead author and a graduate student in clinical psychology at UBC. "This is a crucial distinction, given that most people who think about suicide do not act on their thoughts."

The research used two U.S.-based samples: adolescent psychiatric patients and high school students. Parental bonding was divided into two categories: parental care and parental overprotection. The patients and students completed several questionnaires measuring parental care and overprotection, as well as other known suicide risk factors such as loneliness, emotional distress, and self-worth.

Results indicated that adolescents with a history of suicide attempts reported lower parental care than non-suicidal adolescents and adolescents with a history of suicidal thoughts. The other variables assessed -- parental overprotection, loneliness, emotional distress and self-worth -- were no different in those who made suicide attempts compared to those who only thought about suicide.

"These findings indicate that caring parent-adolescent relationships reduce the likelihood that suicidal thoughts lead to suicide attempts," says Saffer. "Therefore, increasing parental care might represent an important opportunity to reduce suicide risk in adolescents, especially in adolescents already experiencing suicidal thoughts."


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Materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Boaz Y. Saffer, Catherine R. Glenn, E. David Klonsky. Clarifying the Relationship of Parental Bonding to Suicide Ideation and Attempts. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12146

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150211132103.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2015, February 11). Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150211132103.htm
University of British Columbia. "Caring youth-parent relations can be vital to preventing adolescent suicide attempts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150211132103.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).