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Incidence and predictors of suicidal behaviors in a longitudinal sample of young adolescents.

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



This analysis examines 1-year transition probabilities and baseline predictors for suicidal behaviors in young adolescents.


Adolescents from a two-stage, community-based longitudinal study were classified into suicidal behavior categories (attempt, plan, ideation, and none) for baseline and follow-up years. Transition probabilities for movement among categories were calculated, and polytomous logistic regression analysis was used to examine predictors of suicidal behaviors.


Among those with no suicidal behaviors at baseline, 1-year incidence rates were 1.3% for attempts and 1.7% each for plans and ideation. Increasing family cohesion was protective for suicide attempts (odds ratio [OR] = 0.9). Female subjects were more likely than males to report plans (OR = 8.9) and ideation (OR = 4.1). Increasing impulsivity (OR = 2.3), prior suicidal behavior (OR = 10.6), and undesirable life events (OR = 1.1) were significant predictors of plans.


While there are a number of predictors of suicidal behaviors, the false-positive rate is high. Focusing on proximal risk factors, particularly stressors in adolescent development, may overlook the fundamental role of underlying mental disorder and familial factors--both biological and environmental. Suicide and suicidal behaviors are the result of a constellation of adverse factors requiring a range of interventions for prevention.

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