Suicidal Behavior in Latency-Age Children: An Empirical Study

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Fifty-eight children, ages 6 to 12 years, consecutively admitted to a psychiatric hospital unit were evaluated for suicide potential. A battery of specially constructed scales was utilized to assess variables that might be correlated with suicide potential. Some degree of suicidal risk was found in 72% of the children. Factors significantly correlating with suicidal behavior were depression, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, the wish to die, preoccupations with death, the concept that death is temporary and pleasant, and severe depression and suicidal behavior in the parents.

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