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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2010;39(1):64-76. doi: 10.1080/15374410903401146.

Has adolescent suicidality decreased in the United States? Data from two national samples of adolescents interviewed in 1995 and 2005.

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National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina, 67 President Street, MSC861, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


We compared the prevalence and correlates of adolescent suicidal ideation and attempts in two nationally representative probability samples of adolescents interviewed in 1995 (National Survey of Adolescents; N = 4,023) and 2005 (National Survey of Adolescents-Replication; N = 3,614). Participants in both samples completed a telephone survey that assessed major depressive episode (MDE), post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation and attempts, violence exposure, and substance use. Results demonstrated that the lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation among adolescents was lower in 2005 than 1995, whereas the prevalence of suicide attempts remained stable. MDE was the strongest predictor of suicidality in both samples. In addition, several demographic, substance use, and violence exposure variables were significantly associated with increased risk of suicidal ideation and attempts in both samples, with female gender, nonexperimental drug use, and direct violence exposure being consistent risk factors in both samples.

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