Current psychiatric morbidity, aggression/impulsivity, and personality dimensions in child and adolescent suicide: a case-control study

J Affect Disord. 2008 Jan;105(1-3):221-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.05.013. Epub 2007 Jun 12.


Objective: The present study was designed to evaluate psychiatric risk factors for child and adolescent suicide, and to determine the association between impulsive-aggressive and other personality traits, and suicide completion in this population.

Method: Psychiatric diagnoses, impulsive-aggressive and other personality traits were assessed in 55 child and adolescent suicide victims and 55 community controls using semi-structured proxy-based interviews and questionnaires.

Results: The most significant psychiatric risk factors associated with child and adolescent suicide were depressive disorders (OR=48.414, 95% CI 6.247-375.185), substance/alcohol abuse disorder (OR=5.365, 95% CI 1.434-20.076), and disruptive disorders (OR=13.643, 95% CI 2.292-23.16). Additionally, suicide victims showed higher scores on lifetime aggression/impulsivity, and harm avoidance. However, after logistic regression, the only independent significant predictors of suicide in this age group were the presence of depressive disorders (Adjusted OR (AOR)=39.652, 95% CI 4.501-349.345), substance/alcohol abuse disorders (AOR=7.325, 95% CI 1.127-47.62), and disruptive disorders (AOR=6.464, 95% CI 1.422-29.38).

Limitations: Relatively small sample size, and cross-sectional design.

Conclusions: Our findings confirm the existence of a particular clinical profile of children and adolescents at high risk for suicide. Additionally, our results reinforce the need for improved understanding of the interrelationships between stressors, depression, substance/alcohol abuse disorders, disruptive disorders and personality traits/dimensions in youth suicidal behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis
  • Impulsive Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Personality Disorders / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires