Prevalence and Family-Related Factors Associated with Suicidal Ideation, Suicide Attempts, and Self-injury in Children Aged 9 to 10 Years

Danielle C. Deville, Diana Whalen, Florence J. Breslin, Amanda S. Morris, Sahib S. Khalsa, Martin P. Paulus, Deanna M. Barch

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Importance: Although suicide is a leading cause of death for children in the United States, and the rate of suicide in childhood has steadily increased, little is known about suicidal ideation and behaviors in children. Objective: To assess the overall prevalence of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and nonsuicidal self-injury, as well as family-related factors associated with suicidality and self-injury among preadolescent children. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional study using retrospective analysis of the baseline sample from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. This multicenter investigation used an epidemiologically informed school-based recruitment strategy, with consideration of the demographic composition of the 21 ABCD sites and the United States as a whole. The sample included children aged 9 to 10 years and their caregivers. Main Outcomes and Measures: Lifetime suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and nonsuicidal self-injury as reported by children and their caregivers in a computerized version of the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. Results: A total of 11814 children aged 9 to 10 years (47.8% girls; 52.0% white) and their caregivers were included. After poststratification sociodemographic weighting, the approximate prevalence rates were 6.4% (95% CI, 5.7%-7.3%) for lifetime history of passive suicidal ideation; 4.4% (95% CI, 3.9%-5.0%) for nonspecific active suicidal ideation; 2.4% (95% CI, 2.1%-2.7%) for active ideation with method, intent, or plan; 1.3% (95% CI, 1.0%-1.6%) for suicide attempts; and 9.1% (95% CI, 8.1-10.3) for nonsuicidal self-injury. After covarying by sex, family history, internalizing and externalizing problems, and relevant psychosocial variables, high family conflict was significantly associated with suicidal ideation (odds ratio [OR], 1.12; 95% CI, 1.07-1.16) and nonsuicidal self-injury (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05-1.14), and low parental monitoring was significantly associated with ideation (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.98), attempts (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.86-0.97), and nonsuicidal self-injury (OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.93-0.98); these findings were consistent after internal replication. Most of children's reports of suicidality and self-injury were either unknown or not reported by their caregivers. Conclusions and Relevance: This study demonstrates the association of family factors, including high family conflict and low parental monitoring, with suicidality and self-injury in children. Future research and ongoing prevention and intervention efforts may benefit from the examination of family factors..

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1920956
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


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