Aggression, Substance Use, and Suicidal Behaviors in High School Students

Garrison, Carol Z.; McKeown, Robert E.; Valois, Robert F.; Vincent, Murray L.
February 1993
American Journal of Public Health;Feb1993, Vol. 83 Issue 2, p179
Academic Journal
Objectives. We sought to analyze the frequency and correlates of suicidal behaviors in a community sample of adolescents. Methods. Information concerning suicidal thoughts and acts, aggressive behaviors, substance use and physical recklessness were collected with the 70-item self-report Youth Risk Behavior Survey from a statewide sample of 3764 South Carolina public high school students. Results. Seventy-five percent of students reported no suicidal behaviors, 11% reported serious suicidal thoughts, 6.4% reported specific suicidal plans, 5.99% reported attempts not requiring medical care, and 1.6% reported attempts requiring medical care. All types of suicidal behaviors occurred more frequently in females than males. Odds ratios for aggressive behaviors and cigarette use were elevated across all categories of suicide behaviors, increasing in magnitude with severity of reported suicidal behavior. Substance use was associated with some but not all categories of suicidal behaviors. The relationships were most pronounced with the use of potentially more dangerous drugs. Conclusions. The results suggest that suicidal behaviors are not infrequent occurrences among adolescents and that they often coexist with other high-risk behaviors. Interventions designed to reduce suicidal behaviors should simultaneously address coexisting high-risk behaviors.


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