Attempted suicide among adolescents in Mexico: prevalence and associated factors at the national level

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the prevalence and associated factors of attempted suicide (AS) in a sample of Mexican adolescents between 10 and 19 years of age.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted with data from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT 2012 by its initials in Spanish). Based on multi-stage stratified probability sampling, ENSANUT 2012 canvassed 50 528 households including 21 519 adolescents. A logistic regression model was used to identify the factors associated with AS. The model was selected based on the maximum likelihood test.

Results

Lifetime prevalence of AS amounted to 2.7% and was heterogeneously distributed across Mexico. Women showed significantly higher risk for AS than men (ORA(adjusted OR)) 6.3, 95% confidence interval CI 4.94 to 8.06), and individuals who experienced damage to health caused by violence over the last 12 months were 4.35 times (ORA 4.35, 95% CI 3.27 to 5.80) more likely to engage in AS than those who did not. The likelihood of engaging in AS was 1.5 times higher (ORA1.5 (95% CI 1.12 to 2.01)) among subjects with mild and 4.22 times higher (95% CI 3.21 to 5.54) among subjects with moderate eating disorders compared to those with no eating disorders. Other AS-associated factors included age, smoking, consuming alcohol and living with relatives other than parents.

Conclusions

Awareness of the risk factors associated with AS can help identify the populations who are exposed to injury or death by suicide. This can orient the actions of the health sector towards those who are most vulnerable. Actions must be matched by more qualitative and quantitative research on the subject.

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