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Traumatic events and suicidality in a German adolescent community sample

Authors

  • Paul L. Plener,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Ulm
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm.
    • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm, Steinhoevelstr. 5, D-89075 Ulm, Germany
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  • Hanneke Singer,

    1. University of Ulm
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm.
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  • Lutz Goldbeck

    1. University of Ulm
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Ulm.
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Abstract

Exposure to traumatic events has been related to suicide attempts and suicidal ideation in adolescents. This study analyzes the association between suicidality and preceding traumatic life events in 665 German school students with an average age of 14.81 (SD = 0.66). Forty-three (6.5%) students reported suicide attempts and 239 (35.9%) reported suicidal ideation. Adolescents with a history of suicide attempts reported sexual abuse 6 months before their suicidal behavior significantly more often than students with only suicidal ideation. Sexual victimization seems to be especially linked to a risk for suicide attempts during adolescence. Screening for students at risk for developing suicidality should include assessment of traumatic events.

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