These Are the Kids to Watch

Victimized children and teens more likely to consider committing suicide

(RxWiki News) No doubt bullying and child abuse are serious issues, especially for kids and teens. Even worse, they can sometimes be a matter of life and death.

A recent study found children who have been victimized in a variety of ways are at greater risk for considering suicide.

This means that whenever a child is bullied, take the issue seriously.

"Watch your teen for suicide risk."

The study, led by Heather A. Turner, PhD, from the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, aimed to find out whether there was a link for teens between being victimized in various ways and contemplating suicide.

The researchers used data from interviews with 1,186 youths, aged 10 to 17, in the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence. The children were interviewed twice, in 2008 and in 2010.

The kids were asked in the first interview about whether they had been bullied by peers, sexually assaulted, exposed to community or family violence or been abused by a parent or guardian.

They were then asked in the second interview whether they had considered suicide within the past month.

The researchers found those who had been victim of one of the situations described were at least twice as likely to consider suicide.

The researchers took into account differences in the children's and teens' demographics and several psychiatric disorders in doing their calculations.

Those who had been bullied were 2.4 times more likely to think about committing suicide compared to those who had not been a victim of any of those situations.

Those who had been raped were 3.4 times more likely and those who had been abused were 4.4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Kids or teens were nearly 6 times more likely to consider suicide if they had been victimized seven or more times through bullying, rape, child abuse, community violence or domestic violence.

Overall, 4.3 percent of the respondents reported having thought about suicide in the past month before the second interview.

Since suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers in the US, this information may help families and schools identify children at risk of committing suicide. More than 16,000 teenagers a year commit suicide.

The study was published October 22 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The research was funded by Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
October 24, 2012