Suicidal ideation, self-directed violence and depression among Chilean school adolescents

Sergio Barroilhet, Rosemarie Fritsch, Viviana Guajardo, Vania Martínez, Paul Vöhringer, Ricardo Araya, Graciela Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Suicidal behaviors and depression are prevalent phenomena among adolescents, and are considered a public health problem. Aim: To determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms and suicidal behaviors and the relationship between both phenomena, in a representative sample of students from ninth grade in Santiago, Chile. Material and Methods: We recruited a probability sample of 2,597 adolescents who answered a questionnaire with questions about suicidal behavior and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II). Results: The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and planning was 21 and 14%, respectively. The prevalence for the past two weeks was 6.7 and 4.4% for suicidal ideation and planning, respectively. Autolytic behaviors, once in lifetime and in the past week were referred by 26 and 4% of respondents, respectively. In one third of these, self-harm coincided with recent suicide ideation or planning. All levels of suicidal behavior were more frequently reported by women. Clinically significant depressive symptoms were present in 23.5% of adolescents. Females doubled male rates. Severe depressive symptoms were present in 9.4% of the sample. A higher level of suicidal behavior correlated with more severe forms of depression. Sixty percent of adolescents who reported recent self-harm, had clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Two thirds of them had severe symptoms. Conclusions: Suicidal behavior in Chilean adolescents is prevalent, and there is an association between this behavior and the level of depression. The school is a good place to identify and develop preventive measures for teenagers.

Translated title of the contributionSuicidal ideation, self-directed violence and depression among Chilean school adolescents
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)873-881
Number of pages9
JournalRevista Medica de Chile
Volume140
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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