Does Childhood Suicidal Thinking Predict Later Suicide?
Posted Oct 02 2008 6:16pm
An article in the November 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry presents the results of a longitudinal study examining whether childhood suicidal thinking is related to mental health problems in adulthood. The study sample was made up of 1,022 Dutch children who were 11 years or younger in 1983 and who were followed over 10 to 14 years into adulthood. The study participants were assessed with a structured psychiatric interview to identify potential adult mental health problems including substance abuse, mental illness, and suicidal behaviour. Childhood suicidal thing was identified using using parental reports of suicidal thinking. The results indicated that childhood suicidal thinking was highly predictive of suicide ideation in adulthood and lifetime history of suicide attempts. Childhood suicidal thinking was also associated with an increased likelihood of mood disorder and anxiety disorder in adulthood as well as externalizing disorders such as ADHD, conduct disorder and behavioural syndromes. The authors conclude that suicidal thinking in childhood may be remain stable over time with worrying consequences in adulthood. Children with parent-reported suicide ideation at a young age may require additional resources, age-appropriate intervention, and careful monitoring into adulthood.