More Child Suicides Are Linked to A.D.D. Than Depression, Study Suggests

October 06, 2016
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

While suicide death among children under the age of 12 is rare, little is known about the precipitating factors associated with suicide in this age group. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children aged 5 to 11 who died by suicide were more likely to have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.) than early adolescents, who were more likely to have had depression. According to Jeffrey Bridge, the study’s senior author and epidemiologist at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio, these results suggest that “suicide is potentially a more impulsive act among children,” which may have implications for screening in this age group. Bridge and other researchers, however, cautioned against drawing definitive conclusions given the study's limited sample size and the potential influence of other risk factors. The study also found that children who died by suicide were more likely to be black than their adolescent counterparts. “This study shouldn’t raise alarms for African-American families that have children diagnosed with A.D.D. that they need to worry that their child will impulsively kill themselves,” said Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist and part-time associate professor at Harvard Medical School. “It’s usually a much more complicated picture.”

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Populations:  Youth, Children Ages 12 and Younger, Adolescents
About Suicide:  Behavioral Health Disorders