BACKGROUND: Suicidality among adolescents is a common focus of clinical attention. In spite of links to disruptive behaviors and other types of psychopathology, it is not clear whether other factors commonly associated with suicide, such as personality and parenting, predict suicidality over and above psychopathology. The purpose of the present study was to assess suicidal ideations and attempts and their relationship to psychopathology, violence exposure, personality traits and parental rearing in Russian male juvenile delinquents with conduct disorder (CD).
METHOD: Suicidality and psychopathology were assessed using a semi-structured psychiatric interview in 271 incarcerated male juvenile delinquents diagnosed with CD. Violence exposure, personality characteristics and perceived parental rearing were assessed via self-reports.
RESULTS: Thirty-four percent of those diagnosed with CD (92 subjects) reported a lifetime history of either suicidal thoughts or attempts. Suicidal ideators and attempters did not differ significantly on any variable of interest, but both reported significantly higher rates of psychopathology and violence exposure than the non-suicidal group, as well as higher levels of harm avoidance, lower self-directedness, and higher rates of perceived negative parental rearing. Finally, even when controlling for the relationship with psychopathology, personality and perceived parental rearing factors showed significant associations with suicidality.
CONCLUSIONS: Juvenile delinquents with CD have high rates of suicidal ideations and attempts, related to a wide spectrum of psychopathology and specific personality traits. These findings suggest that a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors create vulnerability to stressors, which under the influence of situational factors (e.g., repeated traumatization) may lead to suicidal thoughts and acts. Factors potentially contributing to vulnerability for suicidality should be identified when planning prevention and rehabilitation efforts for troubled youth.
2003. Vol. 44, no 7, 1058-66 p.