Sequelae of Aggression in Acutely Suicidal Adolescents
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- Kerr, D.C.R., Washburn, J.J., Feingold, A. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2007) 35: 817. doi:10.1007/s10802-007-9132-5
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The consequences of aggression on problem course and suicide risk were examined in 270 acutely suicidal adolescents (ages 12–17 years; 184 girls). Participants were assessed during psychiatric hospitalization (T1), 6-months post-hospitalization (T2), and 15 or more months post-hospitalization (T3). Study variables included self- and parent-reported aggression; self-reported internalizing symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and adverse events; and clinician-rated suicidal behavior. Aggression was not directly related to suicide attempt concurrently or prospectively. However, among more aggressive youth, internalizing symptoms were more predictive of T3 suicide attempt than among less aggressive youth. T1 aggression predicted aggressive incidents and the likelihood of incarceration prior to T3. Two-level hierarchical linear modeling indicated that self-reported aggression and internalizing problems were linked in terms of severity and rates of decline over time. Overall, parent-reported aggression was negatively associated with suicidal ideation. Findings highlight (a) the continuity and consequences of aggression, (b) a possible role of aggression in worsening suicide risk factors and potentiating suicide attempt, and (c) the importance of ongoing research on subtypes of suicidal adolescents.