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Madelyn S. Gould, Professor, Psychiatry and Public Health (Epidemiology), Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive Unit 72, New York, NY 10032 USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +1-212-543-5329, fax: +1-212-543-5966,
David Shaffer, Irving Philips Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University; Director of Child Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032 USA e-mail: email@example.com tel: +1-212-543-5947, fax: +1-212-543-5966,
Ted Greenberg, Research Scientist, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032 USA e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +1-212-543-5931
This chapter reviews three major sources of data that are used to derive the epidemiology of completed suicide in children and adolescents. They are official mortality statistics, the psychological autopsy literature, and general population epidemiologic surveys of nonlethal suicidal behavior. Suicide is often associated with aggressive behavior and alcohol abuse and both are more common in males. Until 1979, the ethnic breakdown in the annual age-specific mortality statistics in the U.S. published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) was limited to whites and nonwhites. Firearms are the most common method and hanging the second most prevalent method of suicide in the U.S., regardless of age or ethnicity. The chapter focuses on the main risk factors for youth suicide evaluated by the psychological autopsy studies that employed direct interviews of family and/or peer informants.
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