Monday, 8 June 2009

Strong link between suicide risk and 8 year old boys with psychiatric conditions: researchers

A Finnish longitudinal study of 5000 8 year olds, evenly split between boys and girls, concluded that boys whose parents have split up and have some psychiatric issues have a 9 times higher chance of suicide when adolescents than those 8 year olds who don't have those risks.

About 1 in 20 boys with comorbid conduct and anxiety disorders completed suicide or made a serious suicide attempt during adolescence or early adulthood, compared with only 1 in 250 boys without those problems.

The researchers reviewed the subjects sixteen years later, when they were to have been aged 24.

Researchers could not establish any link between early psychological problems in girls and later suicide risk, the researchers believe, is because suicide risk with females is strongly associated with anxiety and depression, which don't usually affect girls until after puberty begins.

Among the boys at age 8, not living with both biological parents, engaging in misconduct, being hyperactive, or being anxious predicted suicide by age 24. The strongest predictor was conduct problems and anxiety at age 8.

By contrast, being depressed at age 8 did not predict suicide outcome.

The results clearly indicate the need for boys to get needed psychiatric assistance.

The study is published in Archives of General Psychiatry, and an extract can be found here.

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