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Subst Use Misuse. 1996 Jun;31(8):1041-58.

Youth and familial substance use's association with suicide attempts among runaway and homeless youth.

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  • 1Health and Social Policy Division, Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina 27709-2194, USA.


This study examined how youth suicide attempts are associated with youth and familial substance use among two samples of runaway and homeless youth (RHY): (a) a nationally representative sample of RHY residing in shelters, and (b) a multicity, purposive sample of RHY found on the street. Data were collected using personal interviews from 640 shelter youth and 600 street youth in 1992. Logistic regression analyses revealed that, after controlling for key demographic characteristics, youth who had used substances (particularly sedatives, hallucinogens, and inhalants) were much more likely than those who had not used substances to have ever attempted suicide. In addition, after controlling for their own substance use, youth with family members who had used substances were twice as likely as those without such family members to have ever attempted suicide. This study suggests the importance of developing and focusing suicide prevention.

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