Illegal Drug Use, Being Overweight Are Predictors of Adolescent Suicide

Author: Lauren M. Whetstone
Date: March 15, 2001

(North American Primary Care Research Group) Results of a cross-sectional survey of middle school students demonstrated that experimentation with illegal substances and the perception of being overweight among females were the most accurate predictors of suicidal thoughts and actions among adolescents, and that females were significantly more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts and actions. Researchers conducted the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in four eastern North Carolina counties in response to a 1999 report from the surgeon general that called for action to prevent suicide, and regional data that showed a significant increase over the past three years in the percentage of students who reported attempting suicide (from 9.9 to 12.5 percent). A total of 4,838 middle school students who were present and had parental consent participated in the survey. Forty-nine percent were female and 53 percent were black. Multiple logistic regression models examined the following predictors of suicidal thoughts and actions: age, race, single- or two-parent household, grades on report card, weight description and number of illegal drugs with which they experimented. Females were significantly more likely than males to think about suicide (28 percent versus 22 percent, respectively), plan suicide (14 percent versus 11 percent, respectively) and attempt suicide (13 percent versus 10 percent, respectively).--LAUREN M. WHETSTONE, PH.D., ET AL., East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

COPYRIGHT 2001 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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