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Dissertation

Risk factors for suicidal behavior among youth with conduct problems

25 July 2003

Abstract

Conduct Disorder (CD) is one of the most commonly occurring diagnoses among youth in mental health settings. Additionally, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults. To date, risk factors for both conduct problems (CP) and suicide have been well studied and documented; however, few studies have directly assessed risk factors for youth with co-occurring CP and suicidal behavior. The present study was designed to investigate variables that predicted group membership by comparing youth with CP and suicidal behavior and youth with CP only. Two-hundred-thirty-seven youth with CP receiving treatment at an outpatient community mental health program participated. Data were collected by reviewing the charts of all participants. The sample was divided into two groups, based on the presence or absence of suicidal behavior in the last year, with 180 youth demonstrating CP only and 57 demonstrating CP and suicidal behavior. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated MDD, history of suicidal attempt and ideation, aggressive behavior, and gender were significant predictors of suicidal behavior among youth with CP. Additionally, correlational analyses revealed the severity of suicidal behavior to be correlated with age and the severity of assaultive behavior among youth with CP. Results are discussed in terms of their contribution to the understanding of the variables that predict CP only as compared to CP and suicidal.


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