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Increase in Suicide Attempts Seen for Black Adolescents

Last Updated: October 15, 2019.

From 1991 to 2017, black high school students experienced an increase in suicide attempts, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, Oct. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- From 1991 to 2017, black high school students experienced an increase in suicide attempts, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in Pediatrics.

Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D., M.P.H., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues examined trends in engagement in suicidal behaviors among different racial and ethnic groups using nationally representative school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from 1991 to 2017. Data were included for 198,540 high school students.

The researchers identified significant linear decreases in self-reported suicidal ideation and suicide plans across all sex and racial/ethnic groups from 1991 to 2017. Significant decreases in attempts were reported over time for female adolescents (odds ratio, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 0.99; P < 0.001). Black male and female adolescents had significant and positive linear trends for suicide attempts (odds ratios, 1.04 [95 percent CI, 1.02 to 1.07; P < 0.001] and 1.02 [95 percent CI, 1.01 to 1.03; P = 0.003], respectively). A linear increase was seen in injury by attempt for black adolescent boys (odds ratio, 1.04; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.08; P = 0.048).

"Examining trends in suicidal ideation and behaviors over time by sex and race and ethnicity allows us to determine where to focus prevention and intervention efforts," the authors write. "Future research should be used to examine the underlying reasons for these observed changes."

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