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Am J Epidemiol. 1991 May 15;133(10):1005-14.

Suicidal behaviors in young adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208.


A two-stage epidemiologic study investigated the frequency of suicidal behavior in children 12-14 years of age. In the first stage, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, a three-item suicide scale, a life-event schedule, and a family environment scale were administered during 1986 to a southeastern US community sample of 1,542 seventh and eighth grade students. In the second stage, 226 mother-child pairs were interviewed utilizing the Schedule for Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders in School Age Children (K-SADS). Subjects interviewed included students with high depression scores and a random sample of the remaining students. Prevalence estimates for moderate to severe suicidal ideation (K-SADS score greater than or equal to 4) were 4.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.6-16.4%) in males and 8.7% (95% CI 2.4-23.3%) in females. The prevalences of suicide attempts were 1.9% (95% CI 0.0-13.2%) in males and 1.5% (95% CI 0.6-12.7%) in females. Significant relations were found between major depression and both suicide ideation (odds ratio = 6.19, 95% CI 1.53-24.94) and suicide attempts (odds ratio = 9.80, 95% CI 1.89-50.86). The undesirable life-events score was also a significant predictor of suicide ideation and suicide attempts.

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