College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Family characteristics and behavior problems of suicidal and non-suicidal children and adolescents

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1998

Keywords

Adolescent, Child Behavior Disorders, Mental Disorders, Nuclear Family, Nonparametric Statistics, Suicide, United States

Publication Title

Child Psychiatry and Human Development

ISSN

0009-398X

Volume

29

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

The present study examined familial and individual variables in youngsters at high risk for suicide and non-suicidal youngsters. One hundred inpatient children and adolescents completed a battery of questionnaires including, FACES II, Family Strengths, and Problem Behavior Scales, to assess family dysfunction and individual behavior problems. The results indicated that suicidal youngsters have lower pride in their families and perceived them as less adaptable than non-suicidal youngsters as indicated by scores on the Family Strengths and FACES II, respectively. Scores on the Problem Behavior Scales indicated that suicidal youngsters also exhibited self-inflicted behaviors, withdrawal from others, little interest in activities, poor concentration, and difficulties with sleeping. In addition, youths at risk for suicide were more likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder, including major depressive disorder and dysthymia, as well as substance abuse and phobias. These findings suggest that suicidal youngsters' negative perceptions of their families and their maladaptive behaviors should be given special attention in designing appropriate interventions. In this way, treatment would likely be effective by providing appropriate coping skills and preventing future suicidal attempts in high risk youngsters.

DOI

10.1023/A:1025040100819

Peer Reviewed

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