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Increasing self-reported suicide attempts by adolescents in Greece between 1984 and 2007

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Abstract

Purpose

This study examines trends in self-reported suicide attempts by Greek adolescents.

Methods

Data were obtained from five nationwide school probability surveys, each of approximately 8,000–10,000 adolescents aged 14–18 years, carried out from 1984 to 2007. Students answered an anonymous questionnaire in their classrooms supervised by research assistants. Logistic regression analysis used as dependent variable any self-reported suicide attempts and as independent variables basic sociodemographic information and the year of the survey.

Results

Self-reported suicide attempts doubled in prevalence from 7.0% in 1984 to 13.4% in 2007. Female gender (odds ratio OR 2.49, 95% confidence interval CI 2.30–2.71), living in a single parent family (OR 1.91, CI 1.73–2.11), lower paternal education (OR 1.20, CI 1.10–1.31) and living in a major city (OR 1.17, CI 1.08–1.27 for Greater Athens and OR 1.13, CI 1.00–1.28 for Thessaloniki) were significantly associated with suicide attempts. A larger increase among males, from 2.4 to 8.4%, compared to females (11.5 to 17.9%) contributed to a decrease in gender differences.

Conclusions

Changes in Greek society during the last 30 years, including loosening of family ties, increased drug use and stress because of the demands of school work, are hypothesised to have had an impact on the increasing trend in suicide attempts among adolescents.

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Acknowledgments

The National School Population Surveys in Greece were supported by grants from: the General Secretariat of Youth (1984 and 1988 surveys); DG V of the European Union (1993); General Secretariat of Research and Technology, STRIDE programme (1993); Greek Organization Against Drugs (OKANA) (1998 and 2007); Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation (2007); Alexandros S. Onassis Foundation (2007).

Author information

Correspondence to Anna Kokkevi.

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Kokkevi, A., Rotsika, V., Arapaki, A. et al. Increasing self-reported suicide attempts by adolescents in Greece between 1984 and 2007. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 46, 231–237 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-010-0185-3

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Keywords

  • Survey descriptive study
  • Suicide attempts
  • Adolescents
  • Trends
  • Greece