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Clinical, Psychosocial and Family Characteristics of Suicide Attempts Among Greek Adolescents

[ Vol. 6 , Issue. 2 ]

Author(s):

Tatiana Tairi and Nikos Zilikis   Pages 130 - 139 ( 10 )

Abstract:


Background: Suicide attempts are a significant public health problem, especially among adolescents. They are associated with psychiatric morbidity and result in significant use of health care resources. Systematic study of suicidal behavior among Greek adolescents remains limited.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the clinical, psychosocial and family characteristics of adolescent suicide attempters within the rapidly changing socio-cultural context.

Method: This is an ongoing cross-sectional study conducted since 1990 at the Adolescent Unit of the AHEPA General Hospital, the oldest and one of the major teaching hospitals of the School of Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Results: Of the 182 cases reviewed, 84.1% were females and 15.9% were males aged 12 to 19 years (M=15.24 years, SD = 1.74). Most attempts occurred in adolescents living in intact biological families (59.9%), and medication ingestion was the most predominant method (83.5%). Nearly one-fifth of the adolescents had previously attempted suicide. There was a family history of suicide in 5% of cases. Severe dysfunction or impairment of family context was the most frequently recorded parameter (59.9%), followed by various school difficulties (54.9%), and adolescent-parent conflict (53.3%). In a clinical perspective, active psychopathology was found in 56.1%, with depressive disorder ranking first (30.8%), followed by personality disorders characterised by acting out behavior (19.2%), and substance-related disorders (9.3%).

Conclusions: Findings from this research enable us to gain a greater understanding of suicidal behavior among adolescents, thus contributing to a better clinical and psychosocial approach, and, consequently, more effective prevention and care.

Keywords:

Adolescent suicide attempts, clinical, family and psychosocial factors.

Affiliation:

School of Psychology, Massey University, PO Box 756, Wellington 6140



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