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J Adolesc Health. 2007 Aug;41(2):175-81. Epub 2007 May 25.

Gender, early alcohol use, and suicide ideation and attempts: findings from the 2005 youth risk behavior survey.

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1
Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA. MSwahn@cdc.gov <MSwahn@cdc.gov>

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To examine the cross-sectional associations between preteen alcohol use initiation and subsequent suicide ideation and attempts for boys and girls in a nationally representative sample of high school students.

METHODS:

Analyses are computed using data from the 2005 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which includes a representative sample (n = 13,639) of high-school students in grades 9-12 in the United States. Cross-sectional logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the associations between early alcohol use and reports of suicide ideation and suicide attempts for boys and girls while controlling for demographic characteristics, substance use, involvement in physical fights, weapon carrying, physical abuse by dating partner, sexual assault, and sadness.

RESULTS:

Among study participants, 25.4% reported drinking before age 13 years. Preteen alcohol use initiation was statistically significantly associated with suicidal ideation (adjusted OR = 1.89, 95% CI =1.46-2.44) and suicide attempts (adjusted OR = 2.71, 95% CI =1.82-4.02) relative to nondrinkers. Preteen alcohol use initiation was statistically significantly associated with suicidal ideation and attempts relative to nondrinkers for both boys and girls.

CONCLUSIONS:

Alcohol use among adolescents, particularly preteen alcohol use initiation, is an important risk factor for both suicide ideation and suicide attempts among boys and girls. Increased efforts to delay and reduce early alcohol use are needed, and may reduce suicide attempts.

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