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Revista chilena de pediatría

versión impresa ISSN 0370-4106


LARRAGUIBEL Q., Marcela; GONZALEZ M., Patricia; MARTINEZ N., Vania  y  VALENZUELA G., Ricardo. Risk factors of suicidal conduct in children and adolescents . Rev. chil. pediatr. [online]. 2000, vol.71, n.3, pp.183-191. ISSN 0370-4106.

The objective of this article was to review the scientific literature about the risk factors associated with attempted suicide in children and adolescents, in order to delimit with accuracy the risk groups and to be helpful for the prevention and treatment of young people. Suicide is the second or third leading cause of death in people aged 15-19 years. Secular tendency analysis supports the hypothesis of a real increase of this phenomenon since 1950 in teenagers and young adults both in Europe and North America. In Chile, data provided by the Information Department of the Health Ministry showed a gradual increase in the general suicide rate between 1986 and 1996 (except 1992-93). In adolescents suicide rates had shown a tendency toward stabilization. Determining suicide prevalence is difficult and there is a consensus that attempted suicides are 10-50 times more common than suicide. Follow up studies in teenagers that attempted suicide demonstrated that 10% of these commit suicide in the next ten years. Age and gender are the most important risk factors, males commit suicide more frequently and women are more prone to present other suicidal behaviours. The incidence of suicide increases with age, before the age of 15 it is a rare event. Psychopathology is present in most children and adolescents with suicidal behaviour. Psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, especially major depressive illness, substance abuse and antisocial behaviour are common. Anxiety in a persistent suicidal ideation context rather than a causal agent or risk factor per se may exert an amplifying or maintaining role. There is clear evidence that familiar adversity contributes to an increased suicide risk, lack of warmth in family relationships, lack of communication with parents and general family dysfunction are frequently associated with suicidal behaviour. Accurate referral of these patients to the Mental Health Services, assessment familar and development of effective treatment strategies have shown to be useful in reducing suicidal behaviour in teenagers.

Palabras clave : suicidal behaviour; attempted suicide; children; adolescents; risk factors.

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