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Suicide Risk at Juvenile Justice Intake

Authors

  • Gail A. Wasserman PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.
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  • Larkin S. McReynolds PhD, MPH

    1. Center for Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice, Division of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.
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  • Preparation of this paper was supported by funding from the Carmel Hill Fund to the Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice, Columbia University/NYSPI. We thank Jennifer Carpenter, Erin Espinosa, Vonzo Tolbert, and Bill Bryan at the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission for assistance with data collection.

Center for Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice, Columbia University/NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 78, New York, NY 10032; E-mail: wassermg@childpsych.columbia.edu

Abstract

Many risks for suicidal behavior, identified in population samples, are elevated in justice youth. We examined whether risks operate similarly in a justice sample. We measured suicidal behavior and disorder on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children in 991 randomly selected youths, and examined associations between demographic, offense, and disorder characteristics and past attempts. Recent attempts were more common in girls, in those with depression or substance disorder, and in violent offenders. While more girls reported recent attempts regardless of depression, depressed boys' attempt risk was as high as girls'. Depression contributed more to attempt history than did substance disorder.

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