, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 29-42

Co-occurring risk behaviors among White, Black, and Hispanic US high school adolescents with suicide attempts requiring medical attention, 1999–2007: Implications for future prevention initiatives

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Abstract

Purpose

To identify subtypes of adolescent suicide attempters by examining risk profiles related to substance use, violent behavior, and depressive symptoms. To examine the relationship between these subtypes and having had two or more suicide attempts during the past year. To explore race and gender differences across subtypes of suicide attempters.

Methods

Data were combined from five nationally representative cohorts of the US Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) and focused on a subpopulation of youth who reported a suicide attempt requiring medical attention. Latent class analysis was used to identify subtypes of suicide attempters.

Results

Analysis yielded three classes of youth who attempted suicide, distinguishable by their levels of substance use and violent behaviors: low substance use and violent behaviors, high substance use and violent behaviors, and extreme substance use and violent behaviors. All three classes had a high propensity for endorsing depressive symptoms. The proportion of youth with two or more suicide attempts during the past year increased across subgroup of attempters with higher levels of substance use and violent behaviors. Racial and gender differences were found across subtypes of suicide attempters.

Conclusions

Preventing and treating the co-occurrence of substance use and violent behaviors may serve as essential strategies for reducing suicide attempts, especially among male youth. The use of public health strategies for suicide prevention should take into account the different needs of youth at risk for suicide.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC, NIMH, or the National Institutes of Health.