Quarrelsome family environment as an enhanced factor on child suicidal ideation

Fu-Gong Lin, Jing-Ding Lin, Yu-Hsin Hsieh, Chien-Yi Chang
Research in Developmental Disabilities 2014, 35 (12): 3245-53
Suicide is a leading cause of death in adolescents, and develops through a process leading from depression to suicidal ideation and self-injury. In this study, we analyzed and compared suicidal ideation among elementary school children from distinct families and school-related backgrounds. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate suicidal ideation in elementary school children in Miaoli County of Western Taiwan. Our study included 979 eligible participants and collected data, including suicidal ideation, depression scores, demographic characteristics, and family and school variables. The results revealed that 175 students (17.9%) exhibited depression, and 146 students (14.9%) had contemplated suicide. A quarrelsome family environment was found to be an important independent factor in child suicidal ideation after controlling for depression status. Children living in quarrelsome families showed a 3.7-fold risk of suicidal ideation compared with children in a harmonious family. Among boys living in quarrelsome family environments, suicidal ideation risk was 7.4-fold higher than for girls living in harmonious families. A 27-fold high increased suicidal ideation risk was also observed among the depressed children who living in the quarrelsome family environment, compared with the non-depressed in the harmonious family environment. This study provides novel evidence indicating the enhanced effects of a quarrelsome family environment combined with depression symptoms and among boys on suicidal ideation. These findings suggest of quarrels in a family environment playing an important role on elementary school children's psychological development, and may help parents in improving their mental health.

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