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Risk factors of suicidal ideation among adolescents after Wenchuan earthquake in China

Mao-Sheng Ran, Zhen Zhang, Mei Fan, Rong-Hui Li, Yuan-Hao Li, Guo Jing Ou, Zhe Jiang, Yu-Zhen Tong, Ding-Zhi Fang
Asian Journal of Psychiatry 2015, 13: 66-71
25845324

BACKGROUND: Suicidal ideation is a common phenomenon in survivors after disaster event.

AIM: To identify the change of suicidal ideation, and to test hypotheses concerning the suicidal ideation, depression and PTSD symptoms among adolescent survivors after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China.

METHODS: The suicidal ideation among high school students at 6, 12 and 18 months after the Wenchuan earthquake were investigated. Subjects included 737 student survivors in an affected high school. The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) and the Chinese Beck Depression Inventory (C-BDI) were used to measure the symptoms of PTSD and depression.

RESULTS: The rates of suicidal ideation among the adolescent survivors at 6-, 12- and 18-month after the earthquake were 35.6%, 35.6% and 30.7% respectively. Depression symptoms in the 18-month follow-up, suicidal ideations at 6 and 12 months after the earthquake were the independent risk factors of suicidal ideation in the 18-month follow-up. Depression symptoms were the strongest predictor of suicidal ideation after earthquake.

CONCLUSION: An increased rate of suicidal ideation after the earthquake may be mainly due to depression but not to PTSD symptoms. The disaster-related psychological sequelae and the risk factors of suicidal ideation, especially depression symptoms, should be considered in the mental health services and suicide prevention.

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