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Treatment Compliance in Adolescents Who Attempt Suicide

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:15pm

The June 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry presents the results of a two-year follow-up study looking at the benefits of treatment in adolescents who have attempted suicide. A sample of eighty-five adolescents (ages 13-18) who had attempted suicide were recruited along with their families from four psychiatric hospitals and were evaluated for symptoms of emotional problems. Later assessments were conducted every 6 months over the course of a two-year period to determine whether the adolescents had participated in treatment and how well they had complied with the treatment recommendations (whether they had taken prescribed medication or attended treatment sessions), their attitudes toward treatment, and further suicide attempts and ideation. The results showed that adolescents with a disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis were less compliant with individual psychotherapy, as were those with a substance dependence other than alcohol or marijuana. Adolescents who were diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder were less compliant with prescribed medication (6 months post-attempt). While parents` perception of treatment as being helpful was predictive of greater treatment compliance, adolescents' attitudes toward treatment did not appear to play a role. Finally, compliance with treatment was not generally found to be a predictor of later suicide attempts. The authors concluded that attempts at increasing treatment compliance in adolescent suicide attempters should vary according to the adolescent`s symptoms as well as parental attitudes toward treatment.

Click here for the abstract.

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