CORVALLIS, Ore. Young men who attempt suicide before age 18 are much more likely as adults to be aggressive toward their girlfriends or wives, including hitting and injuring their partners, according to a new study.
This groundbreaking new research provides further evidence of the need for intervention with suicidal teens. It is based on data from 153 males from higher-crime neighborhoods who were assessed yearly from ages 10 to 32, and their romantic partners who participated when the men were ages 18 to 25.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is published online in the journal Psychological Medicine.
According to the study's authors, David Kerr of Oregon State University and Deborah Capaldi of the Eugene-based Oregon Social Learning Center, the magnitude of the association between a suicide attempt and injury of a partner was surprising: 58 percent of youth in that study group who attempted suicide went on to injure a partner, compared to 23 percent of young men who did not attempt suicide.
"The study began when these men were kids, before anyone knew who was going to become violent," said Kerr, an assistant professor of psychology at OSU who studies youth suicide, depression, and health-risking behaviors. "That is quite different from research that starts with violent men, or women from a domestic violence shelter, and tries to look back in time for explanations."
The study also did not rely on just one source of information, such as men's own reports of aggression. Instead, the researchers had data from official domestic violence arrest records, women's own reports of injury, and live observations of the couples.
The researchers controlled for other problems suicidal youth can have which are also linked to violence to partner, such as aggression, depression, substance use, and family abuse history. The researchers still found that young men who attempted suicide were more aggre
|Contact: David Kerr|
Oregon State University