Influential Factors On Adolescent's Suicidal Behavior
Kim, Yi Jin
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Several studies have been conducted to investigate risk factors for adolescent suicide. Most adolescent risk models for suicide contain "traditional" risk factors such as depression or substance use. However, other possible factors such as body dissatisfaction or risky sexual behaviors have lacked adequate research and evaluation in general, even though these factors have been prevalent among adolescents and associated with risk factors for suicide. Also, the target population in past studies that investigate suicide risk among adolescents has been mainly focused on Caucasians, African Americans, or Hispanics, and failed to include various racial and ethnic groups such as Asians, who have high rates of suicide. Thus, this study endeavored to investigate the relationship between suicidal behaviors and physical/mental predictors such as depression, substance use, body image, weight control behaviors, and risky sexual behaviors among Asian, African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic adolescents. This study used secondary data from 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The target populations were 11,134 students (5,636 female and 5,498 male) in 9th to 12th grade who completed the 2007 YRBS. A linear regression was conducted to examine the correlation between predictors and suicidal behaviors. For the possible predictors, depression, substance use, body image, weight control behaviors, risky sexual behaviors, and demographic variables were used. The results showed that gender, grade, depression, substance use, body image, weight control behaviors, and risky sexual behaviors were significant predictors of adolescents' suicidal behaviors, while race/ethnicity was not a good predictor. Also, there were significant gender and grade differences in suicidal behaviors among adolescents. All data used in this study was self-reported, leaving a possibility for participants to either under or over-report their behaviors in the questionnaire. Recommendations for future research include study replications with other minority races/ethnicities. Future studies should also focus more on examining gender and differences in suicide among grade-levels. Implications for social work practice aimed to develop suicide prevention programs for adolescents based on empirical basis of adolescents' suicidal behaviors.