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Adolescent Suicide among Secondary School Students: Correlates of Risks

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Objective: We examined adolescent suicide risks using the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS). Methods: Suicide risk variables were analyzed individually and as a composite measure. Ten correlates were dichotomized for analyses: sex, sexual identity, forced sex, unsafe at school, current cigarette use, current alcohol use, weight perceptions, academic grades, hours of sleep, and hours on computer. Results: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) results for the suicide index indicated that only weight perception was not statistically significant. Logistic regression analyzed multivariate effects on disaggregated index items. For sad/hopeless and consider suicide, all correlates were statistically significant. For suicide planning, only weight perception was not statistically significant. Finally, for attempt suicide, neither weight perceptions nor computer use was statistically significant for younger students; all variables were statistically significant for older students. Conclusions: Certain suicide risk factors are predictive across grade levels and some are specific to older versus younger cohorts. Parents, teachers, and school administrators can reinforce each other by encouraging relevant/sensitive education efforts. Future prevention/intervention programs should be mindful of the particular demographics of intended audience, who must see the utility of efforts relative to their own needs and values.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; CHILD HEALTH; MENTAL HEALTH; SUICIDE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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