Parent-reported suicidal behavior and correlates among adolescents in China

Xianchen Liu, Zhenxiao Sun, Yanyun Yang
Journal of Affective Disorders 2008, 105 (1): 73-80

BACKGROUND: Suicidal risk begins to increase during adolescence and is associated with multiple biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors. This study examined the prevalence and psychosocial factors of parent-reported suicidal behavior in Chinese adolescents.

METHODS: A community sample of 1920 adolescents in China participated in an epidemiological study. Parents completed a structured questionnaire including child suicidal behavior, illness history, mental health problems, family history, parenting, and family environment. Multiple logistic regression was used for data analysis.

RESULTS: Overall, 2.4% of the sample talked about suicide in the previous 6 months, 3.2% had deliberately hurt themselves or attempted suicide, and 5.1% had either suicidal talk or self-harm. The rate of suicidal behavior increased as adolescents aged. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that the following factors were significantly associated with elevated risk for suicidal behavior: depressive/anxious symptoms, poor maternal health, family conflict, and physical punishment of parental discipline style.

LIMITATIONS: Suicidal behavior was reported by parents. No causal relationships could be made based on cross-sectional data.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence rate of parent-reported suicidal behavior is markedly lower than self-reported rate in previous research. Depressive/anxious symptoms and multiple family environmental factors are associated with suicidal behavior in Chinese adolescents.

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