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13-10-2017 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2018

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 3/2018

Suicide Attempts Among Adolescents with Self-Reported Disabilities

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 3/2018
Tally Moses


This study examines the relative risk for suicide attempts (SA) among high-school students self-identifying with one or more disability classifications (nine); assesses the extent to which youth with disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to risk factors that predict suicidal behavior among all adolescents; and explores whether disability status adds to risk for SA after accounting for a comprehensive set of known risk and protective factors for SA. Analyses using Wisconsin’s 2012 Dane County Youth Assessment Survey data found that youth in each disability category were 3–9 times more likely to report suicide attempt(s) relative to peers, and the endorsement of multiple disabilities tripled the risk SA relative to youth reporting a single disability. Some disability sub-groups, including youth reporting autism spectrum disorder, hearing, and vision impairments reported surprisingly high rates of SA. While youth with disabilities reported disproportionate exposure to adversity in every life domain examined, similar to youth reporting SA, disability status added unique risk for suicidal behavior. This suggests that disability may be a ‘fundamental cause’ of suicidal behavior, a question that requires further investigation.

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