Published Online: December 13, 2011
Published in Print: December 14, 2011, as Youth Suicide

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Youth Suicide

"An Examination of the Validity of Retrospective Measures of Suicide Attempts in Youth"

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A study published in the December issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests the suicide risks for depressed children can start much earlier than expected: Nearly 40 percent of adolescents who attempt suicide first try it before high school.

As part of the ongoing study, James Mazza, an educational psychologist at the University of Washington, in Seattle, and colleagues collected data from 883 18- and 19-year-olds in an unnamed school district.

The 9 percent of students who said they had attempted to kill themselves had more frequent symptoms of depression than other students as early as elementary and middle school. The rate of suicide attempts jumped around 6th grade and increased through 9th grade. Students who reported several suicide attempts tried for the first time earlier—some at age 9.

Vol. 31, Issue 14, Page 5

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