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Suicidal Ideation Among Urban Nine and Ten Year Olds

O'LEARY, CATHERINE C. Ph.D.1; FRANK, DEBORAH A. M.D.2; GRANT-KNIGHT, WANDA Ph.D.3; BEEGHLY, MARJORIE Ph.D.4; AUGUSTYN, MARILYN M.D.2; ROSE-JACOBS, RUTH Sc.D.2; CABRAL, HOWARD J. Ph.D.5; GANNON, KATHERINE M.P.H.6

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February 2006 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - pp 33-39
Original Articles

ABSTRACT. Little is known about rates and correlates of suicidal ideation among nonclinical samples of preadolescents from low-income urban backgrounds. Using the Children's Depression Inventory, we measured suicidal ideation in 131 preadolescent urban children (49% female, 90% African American/Caribbean) participating in an ongoing prospective longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure and children's outcome. Suicidal ideation was reported by 14.5% of the children in this sample at 9 to 10 years of age. Children's reports of depressive symptoms, exposure to violence, and distress symptoms in response to witnessing violence were associated with suicidal ideation, but prenatal cocaine exposure, parent-rated child behavior, and caregivers' psychological distress symptoms were not. Suicidal ideation may be more prevalent among preadolescents from urban, low-income backgrounds than clinicians suspect, particularly among children exposed to violence.

1Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine

2Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

3Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine

4Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

5Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health

6Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts

Received February 2005; accepted July 2005.

Catherine C. O'Leary is now in private practice in Los Gatos, CA. Wanda Grant-Knight is now with the Department of Pediatrics, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Address for reprints: Catherine O'Leary Eckel, Ph.D., 207 Chalet Place, Campbell, CA 95008; e-mail: Catherine_eckel@yahoo.com.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.