OBJECTIVE: To investigate characteristics of suicidal and violent behavior in a community school sample of adolescents.
METHOD: Self-report questionnaires were administered to 794 male students (aged 12-18 years) from Antwerp, Belgium. Subjects were classified into four groups: a suicidal-only (n = 40; suicidal ideation and/or self-harming behavior), a violent-only (n = 142), a suicidal-violent (n = 21), and a control group (n = 591).
RESULTS: Compared with controls, higher levels of internalizing problems, risk-taking behavior (substance use, diminished perception of risk, sensation seeking), and aggression were found in the comparison groups. The suicidal-violent group had the highest levels of depression, somatization, overt and covert aggression, and risk-taking behavior. Compared with the suicidal-only group, the violent-only group had less depression, anxiety, and covert aggression, but higher levels of overt aggression, sensation seeking, diminished perception of risk, and marijuana use.
CONCLUSIONS: Although adolescent suicidal and violent behavior are both related to internalizing problems, aggression, and risk-taking behavior, marked differences in severity and nature exist in these relationships. Differentiation of suicidal youths based on the presence or absence of violent behavior may add to our understanding of suicidal phenomena and may thus have important clinical consequences.
2003. Vol. 42, no 1, 41-8 p.