Monday, October 27, 2008

Poor teens four times more likely to attempt suicide

Teens from poor neighborhoods are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and are four times as likely to attempt suicide. These findings are from a new study that is published in the journal Physcological Medicine.

The published study on poor teens and suicide was conducted by a pair of universities in Canada and the US.

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins of the University Université de Montréal reports that the study still can not determine why poor teens have a greater risk.

The study showed that late teens from disadvantaged neighbourhoods had higher levels of depressive symptoms along with lower levels of social support, but these factors could not fully explain why these Youths were at an increased risk to consider ending their own lives. "Rather, they were more vulnerable because difficult events, such as personally knowing someone who has committed suicide or experiencing a painful breakup with a romantic partner, apparently led to increased suicidal thoughts or attempts," says Véronique Dupéré, lead author and a post-doctoral fellow at Tufts University who completed the research at the Université de Montréal. "In other words, difficult events seemed to have a more dramatic impact on these teenagers."

For this study, 2779 teens were surveyed as part of Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Poverty levels in the neighbourhood were measured in early and mid adolescence based on Census data. Suicidal thoughts and attempts were assessed later, when participants were 18 or 19 years old. Participants were asked, "During the past 12 months, did you seriously consider attempting suicide?" Those who responded yes were then asked, "During the past 12 months how many times did you attempt suicide?"

Among teenagers from across all socioeconomic backgrounds, the research team found that hyperactivity and impulsivity, depression, substance use, low social support, exposure to suicide and negative life events increased vulnerability to suicide thoughts and attempts. "But among youth in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, hyperactivity and impulsivity was even more strongly associated with suicidal behaviours," says Éric Lacourse, senior author of the study and a Université de Montréal sociology professor. "We observed that community adversity could amplify a young person's vulnerability to consider suicide."

Here is a link to the full press release from the University Université de Montréal.

No comments: