ERIC Number: ED299490
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
The Family Environment of Suicidal and Nonsuicidal Youth.
Although the possibility of a suicidal act cannot be predicted from any one variable, a disturbed relationship with parents has been described as one of the most important extrinsic factors contributing to a youth's risk for self-destructive behavior. This study sought to determine if it is possible to discriminate between groups (suicide-attempters, youth with high levels of suicide ideation, and youth with low levels of suicide ideation). Subjects (N=233) were high school students in 14 health classes who were surveyed during a two-day presentation on suicide. On the basis of responses, adolescents were divided into three groups: Suicide Attempters, High Suicide Ideation, and Low Suicide Ideation. A mailed questionnaire was completed by 103 parents. Finally, five families from the Attempters group, three from the High Ideators group, and five from the Low Ideators group participated in a computerized interview. Attempters described their homes even more positively than did low ideators. Attempters perceived the lowest amount of conflict between themselves and their parents. Attempters described family members as most encouraged to express both positive and negative feelings, while high ideators consistently perceived themselves as least encouraged to express their feelings. Parents described their families more positively than did adolescents. While 9.9% of students reported a previous attempt, 4.3% indicated that they thought about suicide frequently. Suicide attempters and their families were similar to low ideators in their descriptions of their homes as most cohesive and communicative and as least conflicted. There was a difference in the behavior of the attempters and their families during the interview, with these subjects approaching the task in a subdued and serious manner. In contrast, families of low ideators appeared to enjoy the interview. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Suicidology (21st, Washington, DC, April 13-17, 1988).