Clinical and Research News
Impulsiveness, Aggression Underlie Many Adolescent Suicides
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 24 page 14-14

Why do certain youngsters try to kill themselves?

Because of depression and hopelessness in some cases, and because of depression and hopelessness topped by impulsiveness and aggression in others, a new study suggests.

The study was conducted by Netta Horesh, Ph.D., of Bar-Ilan University, Alan Apter, M.D., of Tel Aviv University, and colleagues. Results appeared in the September Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

The investigators recruited 65 adolescents for their study—32 with major depressive disorder, 16 of whom had made a suicide attempt—and 33 with borderline personality disorder, 17 of whom had made such an attempt.

The researchers then assessed all of the subjects with instruments such as the Beck Depression Inventory, the Multidimensional Anger Inventory, and the Impulsiveness-Control Scale to determine whether they could gain insights into why some of the subjects had tried to kill themselves and others had not.

Depression and hopelessness were linked positively and significantly with suicidal behavior both in the major depressive subjects and in the borderline personality disorder subjects, the researchers found. What’s more, impulsiveness and aggression were found to correlate significantly with suicidal behavior in borderline subjects. However, this was not the case for the subjects with major depression. Anger did not appear to play a role in suicidal behavior in either group.

An abstract of the study, "Comparison of the Suicidal Behavior of Adolescent Inpatients With Borderline Personality Disorder and Major Depression," is posted on the Web at http://ipsapp002.1wwonline.com/content/getfile/4109/28/5abstract.htm.

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