Lifelines pp 195-221 | Cite as

Suicidal Behavior in Children and Adolescents

  • Daniel W. Rosenn


It is difficult to address the issue of suicide in adults; it is even more painful to consider this subject in children and adolescents. Our Western culture, particularly since Rousseau, has nostalgically idealized childhood as happy, innocent, and free from violence. The myth contends that children are supported and motivated by their surroundings, without which they are relatively weak, ineffective, and even helpless. When youngsters act on primitive impulses in a naked, destructive manner, it is often comforting to pretend that the intentional is accidental. Historically, suicidal behavior in nonadults has escaped intensive clinical study, in part, because of a cultural countertransference somewhat analogous to that associated with the Battered Child Syndrome. This syndrome of violence upon children went unreported until 1960, largely because pediatricians and family physicians could not believe that other adults, particularly parents, could intentionally injure children.


Suicidal Ideation Suicide Attempt Suicidal Behavior Child Psychiatry Childhood Depression 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel W. Rosenn
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

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