Psychosocial Correlates of Suicidal Ideation and Behavior in Adolescents and Preadolescent Children Discharged from an Emergency Department in Israel

Oren Shahnovsky, Lior Pirogovsky, Nermin Toukhy, Shannel Akhavan, Dana Grisaru Hergas, Alan Apter, Liat Haruvi-Catalan, Noa Benaroya-Milshtein, Silvana Fennig, Shira Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Adolescent suicidal behavior is highly prevalent in pediatric psychiatric emergency departments, and there is a growing occurrence of such behavior among preadolescent children. This study aims to examine the psychosocial factors associated with nonfatal suicidal behaviors in children (<12 years old) and adolescents (aged 12–18), to gain insight into unique and shared characteristics of suicidal behavior across these two age groups. Method: This study investigates the psychosocial characteristics associated with suicidal ideation and behaviors in an emergency department sample of 183 children and adolescents aged 7–18 years in Israel. Participants completed a diagnostic interview, and self-report and parent-report questionnaires of psychosocial measures. Cross-sectional correlational and regression analyses were used to determine significant correlates of suicidal outcomes within the two age groups. Results: Among adolescents, females exhibited a higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, while in children, both boys and girls showed similar rates. Depression correlated with suicidal ideation for both adolescents and children. In children, anxiety and conduct symptoms were associated with suicidal behavior, whereas in adolescents, suicidal behavior was associated with depression and anxiety. Conclusions: The present findings contribute to the growing understanding of factors associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors among children in comparison to adolescents. These findings underscore the importance of targeting specific risk factors when developing assessment and intervention strategies tailored to the two age groups.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • children
  • emergency department
  • ideation
  • suicide attempt

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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