Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Predictors of Suicidal Behaviors: A Prospective Study of African Americans


Requests for reprints to: Hee-Soon Juon, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, U.S.A.


This study examined the lifetime prevalence of suicidal behaviors and their relation to social integration, depression, and aggression/substance use in a cohort of African Americans followed prospectively from first grade to age 32. Lifetime depressive moods in adulthood, lifetime use of cocaine, and frequent mobility were associated with suicidal behaviors for both males and females. For males, having been in a mother-alone or mother-absent family at age 6, childhood psychopathology, and not being married were related to suicidal behaviors. Females who reported high assault behavior in adolescence were more likely to report suicide attempts. The results suggest that social integration, depression, and aggression/drug use are important risk factors for suicidal behaviors in this African American population.