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Melvin Stephens

12-Month and Lifetime Prevalence of Suicide Attempts Among Black Adolescents in the National Survey of American Life

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Joe, S., R.S. Baser, H.W. Neighbors, C.H. Caldwell, and James S. Jackson. 2009. "12-Month and Lifetime Prevalence of Suicide Attempts Among Black Adolescents in the National Survey of American Life." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(3): 271-282.

Objective: Provide nationally representative data on the prevalence and psychiatric correlates of suicidal ideation and attempts among African American and Caribbean black adolescents in the United States. Method: Data on nonfatal suicidal behavior among 1,170 African American and Caribbean black adolescents aged 13 to 17 years are from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent, a nationally representative household survey of adults with an attached adolescent sample conducted between February 2001 and June 2003. Results: Nationwide black adolescents reported having a lifetime prevalence of 7.5% for suicidal ideation and 2.7% for attempts. The 12-month prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempt was 3.2% and 1.4%, respectively. Among all respondents, 4% of black American adolescents and 7% of female subjects were projected to attempt suicide by age 17 years. African American adolescents were approximately five times more likely than Caribbean black adolescents to attempt suicide. Almost half of the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent respondents who reported a suicide attempt had never met criteria for any of the DSM-IV disorders by the time of their attempts. Conclusions: Clinicians should be trained to screen for suicidal behavior, even among those without DSM-IV disorders, when treating black adolescents, particularly female subjects. In addition, preventive efforts should consider ethnic differences in suicide risk and targeting nonclinical settings. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2009;48(3):271-282.

DOI:10.1097/CHI.0b013e318195bccf (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2760075. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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