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3 - Adolescent attempted suicide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2009

Alan Apter
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychiatry, Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel-Aviv Medical School; Chairman, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan St. Petah Tikva, Israel 49202 e-mail: eapter@clalit.org.il
Danuta Wasserman
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology and Chairmen of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute; Head of the Swedish National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Illness, National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine; Director of the WHO Collaborating, Centre for Suicide research and promotion of mental health, Karolinska Institute, Box 230, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: danuta.wasserman@ipm.ki.se tel: +46-8-7287026, fax: +46-8-30-64-39
Robert A. King
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
Alan Apter
Affiliation:
Tel-Aviv University
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Summary

Introduction

Many young people make nonfatal deliberate attempts to kill themselves. This phenomenon, also known as “parasuicide”, is at least ten times more common than suicide; however, the exact prevalence of such acts is unknown. Although the exact relationship between parasuicidal acts and suicide is controversial, it is important to note that the majority of these acts are by adolescents and young adults who constitute a pool from which many of the future suicides are drawn (Diekstra, 1994).

Attempted suicide is relatively rare under 12 years of age, although there may be isolated cases under the age of five. Suicide attempts in young children may well go unrecognized. The rarity of attempted suicides in this age may be because the concept of death develops late in childhood, with full awareness of the implications of death not being gained until early adolescence. Possibly serious impulses toward suicidal behavior do not occur until the concept of death has developed. Other protective factors which have been suggested include the lower rates of depression in young children, their close integration in the family, and the necessity for a marked degree of cognitive maturation before a child can develop feelings such as despair and hopelessness (Hawton and Catalan, 1987).

Although suicide attempts are far more common than completed suicide, the literature on it is far more variable and inconsistent than that on completed suicide.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Adolescent attempted suicide
    • By Alan Apter, Professor of Psychiatry, Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel-Aviv Medical School; Chairman, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan St. Petah Tikva, Israel 49202 e-mail: eapter@clalit.org.il, Danuta Wasserman, Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology and Chairmen of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute; Head of the Swedish National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Illness, National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine; Director of the WHO Collaborating, Centre for Suicide research and promotion of mental health, Karolinska Institute, Box 230, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: danuta.wasserman@ipm.ki.se tel: +46-8-7287026, fax: +46-8-30-64-39
  • Edited by Robert A. King, Yale University, Connecticut, Alan Apter, Tel-Aviv University
  • Book: Suicide in Children and Adolescents
  • Online publication: 04 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511550423.004
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  • Adolescent attempted suicide
    • By Alan Apter, Professor of Psychiatry, Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel-Aviv Medical School; Chairman, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan St. Petah Tikva, Israel 49202 e-mail: eapter@clalit.org.il, Danuta Wasserman, Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology and Chairmen of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute; Head of the Swedish National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Illness, National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine; Director of the WHO Collaborating, Centre for Suicide research and promotion of mental health, Karolinska Institute, Box 230, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: danuta.wasserman@ipm.ki.se tel: +46-8-7287026, fax: +46-8-30-64-39
  • Edited by Robert A. King, Yale University, Connecticut, Alan Apter, Tel-Aviv University
  • Book: Suicide in Children and Adolescents
  • Online publication: 04 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511550423.004
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  • Adolescent attempted suicide
    • By Alan Apter, Professor of Psychiatry, Sackler School of Medicine, University of Tel-Aviv Medical School; Chairman, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, 14 Kaplan St. Petah Tikva, Israel 49202 e-mail: eapter@clalit.org.il, Danuta Wasserman, Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology and Chairmen of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute; Head of the Swedish National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Illness, National Institute for Psychosocial Medicine; Director of the WHO Collaborating, Centre for Suicide research and promotion of mental health, Karolinska Institute, Box 230, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden e-mail: danuta.wasserman@ipm.ki.se tel: +46-8-7287026, fax: +46-8-30-64-39
  • Edited by Robert A. King, Yale University, Connecticut, Alan Apter, Tel-Aviv University
  • Book: Suicide in Children and Adolescents
  • Online publication: 04 December 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511550423.004
Available formats
×