Risk Factors for Suicidality Among a Nationally Representative Sample of High School Students

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Using the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance data (n = 13,917) of high school students, we examined the association between four domains of risk factors (alcohol/drug use, aggression, HIV risk-related behaviors, and health problems) and indicators of suicidality (considering a suicide attempt, making a plan to attempt suicide, and actually attempting suicide). Logistic regressions showed that drug use (e.g., recent smoking, drinking before 13), victimization (e.g., threatened at school, hit by girl/boyfriend), risky sexual behavior (e.g., forced to have sex, used a condom) and two health problems (health as fair/poor, has disability/health problem) were associated with all three indicators of suicidality. These findings suggest that programs to prevent alcohol/drug use, address aggression, promote safety, and prevent unsafe sexual practices may also prevent suicidality.

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