Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 89–93 | Cite as

Suicide in preadolescents: Who is at risk?

  • Angelica L. KloosEmail author
  • Rachel Collins
  • Ronald A. Weller
  • Elizabeth B. Weller


Suicidal behavior (ie, thoughts and attempts) in children is an issue of serious concern. In the past, suicide in young children has been largely denied and ignored. However, this is no longer possible, as accumulating evidence supports the existence of suicidal thoughts and actions in preadolescent children. This article explores suicidal behavior in preadolescent children and highlights areas of needed research.


Suicidal Ideation Suicide Attempt Suicidal Behavior Suicidal Thought Prepubertal Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Pompili M, Mancinelli I, Girardi P, et al.: Childhood suicide: a major issue in pediatric health care. Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs 2005, 28: 63–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shaffer D, Gould MS, Fisher P, et al.: Psychiatric diagnosis in child and adolescent suicide. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996, 53: 339–348.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Finzi R, Ram A, Shnit D, et al.: Depressive symptoms and suicidality in physically abused children. Am J Orthopsychiatry 2001, 71: 98–107.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    O’Leary CC, Frank DA, Grant-Knight W, et al.: Suicidal ideation among urban nine and ten year olds. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2006, 27: 33–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Thompson R, Briggs E, English DJ, et al.: Suicidal ideation among 8-year-olds who are maltreated and at risk: findings from the LONGSCAN studies. Child Maltreat 2005, 10: 26–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Foley DL, Goldston DB, Costello J, Angold A: Proximal psychiatric risk factors for suicidality in youth. The Great Smoky Mountains study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2006, 63: 1017–1024.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jellinek M: Suicidal ideation in prepubertal children: What does it mean? What to do? J Dev Behav Pediatr 2006, 27: 40–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kaplowitz PB, Oberfield SE: Reexamination of the age limit for defining when puberty is precocious in girls in the United States: implications for evaluation and treatment. Drug and Therapeutics and Executive Committees of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society. Pediatrics 1999, 104: 936–941.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Birmaher B, Williamson DE, Dahl RE, et al.: Clinical presentation and course of depression in youth: Does onset in childhood differ from onset in adolescence? J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2004, 43: 63–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pompili M, Girardi P, Tatarelli G, et al.: Suicide and attempted suicide in eating disorders, obesity and weightimage concern. Eat Behav 2006, 7: 384–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS). Available at: Accessed October 19, 2006.
  12. 12.
    Gould MS, Greenberg T, Velting DM, Shaffer D: Youth suicide risk and preventive interventions: a review of the past 10 years. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2003, 42: 386–405.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, et al.: Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2005. MMWR Surveill Summ 2006, 55: 1–108.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Roche AM, Giner M, Zalsman G: Suicide in early childhood: a brief review. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2005, 17: 221–224.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kovacs M, Goldston D, Gatsonis C: Suicidal behaviors and childhood-onset depressive disorders: a longitudinal investigation. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1993, 32: 8–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lewinsohn PM, Rohde P, Seeley JR: Psychosocial risk factors for future adolescent suicide attempts. J Consult Clin Psychol 1994, 62: 297–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sourander A, Helstela L, Haavisto A, Bergroth L: Suicidal thoughts and attempts among adolescents: a longitudinal 8-year follow-up study. J Affect Disord 2001, 63: 59–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pfeffer CR, Normandin L, Kakuma T: Suicidal children grow up: relations between family psychopathology and adolescents’ lifetime suicidal behavior. J Nerv Ment Dis 1998, 186: 269–275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lewinsohn PM, Rohde P, Seeley JR, Baldwin CL: Gender differences in suicide attempts from adolescence to young adulthood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2001, 40: 427–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rotheram-Borus MJ, Fernandez MI: Sexual orientation and developmental challenges experienced by gay and lesbian youths. Suicide Life Threat Behav 1995, 23(Suppl): 26–34.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gibson P: Gay male and lesbian youth suicide. In Report to the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide, vol 3: Prevention and Interventions in Youth Suicide. Edited by Feinleib MR. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1989: 110–142.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Russell ST, Joyner K: Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: evidence from a national study. Am J Public Health 2001, 91: 1276–1281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mishara B: How the media influences children’s conceptions of suicide. Crisis 2003, 24: 128–130.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Brent DA, Perper JA, Moritz G, et al.: Psychiatric risk factors for adolescent suicide: a case-control study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1993, 32: 521–529.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Weller RA, Weller EB, Fristad MA, Kapadia Bawa P: Suicidal behavior and parental psychopathology in hospitalized depressed children. Depress Anxiety 2001, 14: 183–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Caetano SC, Olvera RL, Hunter K, et al.: Association of psychosis with suicidality in pediatric bipolar I, II and bipolar NOS patients. J Affect Disord 2006, 91: 33–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bostwick JM: Do SSRIs cause suicide in children? The evidence is underwhelming. J Clin Psychol 2006, 62: 235–241.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Harby K: SSRIs appear to decrease youth suicide risk overall. Medscape Medical News. Available at: Accessed November 1, 2006.
  29. 29.
    Omar HA: A model program for youth suicide prevention. Int J Adolesc Med Health 2005, 17: 275–278.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Flisher AJ: Annotation: mood disorder in suicidal children and adolescents: recent developments. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1999, 40: 315–324.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jacobsen LK, Rabinowitz I, Popper MS, et al.: Interviewing prepubertal children about suicidal ideation and behavior. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1994, 33: 439–452.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelica L. Kloos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rachel Collins
  • Ronald A. Weller
  • Elizabeth B. Weller
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThomas Jefferson University HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations