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About 8 percent of children report any past or current suicidal ideation, according to a study published online March 12 in The Lancet Psychiatry.
Delfina Janiri, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues examined and ranked risk and protective factors for childhood suicidal thoughts and behavior across multiple domains and examined the correlation with self-agreement and caregiver agreement in reporting suicidality. The study sample included 7,994 unrelated children (mean age, 9.9 years).
The researchers found that 8.4, 0.9, and 1.3 percent of children reported any past or current suicidal ideation, past or current suicidal plans, and past or current suicidal attempts, respectively. According to caregivers, 8.1, 0.6, and 0.5 percent reported any past or current suicidal ideation, past or current suicidal plans, and past or current suicidal attempts, respectively. There was low interinformant agreement (Cohen's κ range, 0.0 to 0.2). The most robust risk factors for suicidality were child psychopathology and children-reported family conflict (odds ratios, 1.7 to 4.8 and 1.4 to 1.8, respectively), regardless of informant. The risk for child-reported suicidality was increased with higher weekend screen use time and reduced with greater parental supervision and positive school involvement (odds ratios, 1.3, 0.8, and 0.8, respectively).
"Increasing school and parental awareness of child psychopathology and providing parenting education and family support could be clear and attainable targets for early intervention and prevention strategies," the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to the medical technology industry; a second author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.