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Exposure to Violence and Suicide Risk in Adolescents: A Community Study

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Abstract

The prevalence of violence exposure is relatively unexplored in adolescents in European communities, and reports on the association between exposure to community violence and suicidal behavior are rare. The aim of this study was to investigate (1) the prevalence of community violence in a European urban adolescent sample, (2) the relationship between exposure to community violence and suicidal ideation/deliberate self-harm, and (3) the influence of depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior on this relationship. Self-report surveys were administered to a representative school-based sample of 1509 adolescents in Antwerp (Belgium). The prevalence rate of violence exposure was still high but lower than that reported in U.S. communities. Suicidal ideation and deliberate self-harm were both related to violence exposure. The gender-specific influence of depressive symptomatology and aggressive behavior on the association between exposure to violence and suicidal behavior suggests the need for further research.

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Correspondence to Robert Vermeiren.

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Vermeiren, R., Ruchkin, V., Leckman, P.E. et al. Exposure to Violence and Suicide Risk in Adolescents: A Community Study. J Abnorm Child Psychol 30, 529–537 (2002) doi:10.1023/A:1019825132432

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  • suicide
  • violence exposure
  • adolescence
  • community study