Suicidal ideation and aggressiveness in school-aged youths

Psychiatry Res. 2003 Oct 15;120(3):247-55. doi: 10.1016/s0165-1781(03)00193-8.


This study set out to explore the frequency and correlates of suicidal ideation in a community sample of school-aged adolescents living in a northeastern area of Italy. The study involved a mixed male-female sample of 1,000 adolescents, corresponding to 10% of the young population aged 15-19 in the district. We investigated psychological distress through the revised Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R), from which we also derived our indicators on suicidality (items concerning hopelessness and suicidal ideation). Propensity to aggression was measured with an Italian version of the Aggression Questionnaire. Females scored significantly higher than males on all SCL-90-R subscales, with the exception of the hostility subscale. In our sample, 30.8% of females and 25.3% of males reported having thought about suicide; one adolescent out of 20 reported suicidal ideation of high intensity (5% out of the total sample in both genders). Males scored significantly higher than females on the Aggression Questionnaire. Both males and females who reported suicidal feelings had significantly higher scores on the Aggression Questionnaire than did those who denied suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation is a rather widespread occurrence among adolescents and correlates with other indicators of psychological distress. Psychological distress in adolescence might also be expressed through turbulent behaviors and conduct disorders. Identification of the mental disorders underlying a higher propensity to aggression might help to prevent other negative outcomes such as suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data