Alcohol Use Disorders and Risk Factor Interactions for Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Attempts

Authors

  • Thomas M. Kelly PhD,

    1. Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593.
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  • Kevin G. Lynch PhD,

    1. Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593.
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  • John E. Donovan PhD,

    1. Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593.
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  • Duncan B. Clark MD, PhD

    1. Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center (PAARC), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2593.
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  • Supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Grant No. P50-AA08746) and by a postdoctoral traineeship to Thomas Kelly (NIAAA Grant No. T32 AA-07453) and by an independent scientist award to Duncan Clark (NIAAA Grant No. K02-AA00291).

Abstract

Four hundred eighty-two adolescents who were diagnosed with at least one mental disorder were studied to determine the predictors of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Major depression was predictive of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts for both genders. Chronic stress was found predictive of male suicidal ideation, while low self-esteem and high family dysfunction were found to be predictive of suicidal ideation in females. Statistical trends suggest that females with comorbid alcohol use/conduct disorder were approximately three times more likely to have attempted suicide than those with only one of these conditions. Clinicians working with adolescents should be aware that, while depression remains the number one clinical risk for suicidal behavior, risk factors for suicidal ideation may be different than those for attempted suicide and may vary by gender.

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