To examine factors differentiating individuals whose first suicide attempt was during childhood (ages 5-12 yrs) from those who first attempted suicide during adolescence (13-19 yrs) and during adulthood (≥20 yrs).
A sample of 418 participants (ages 18-64 yrs) with a mood disorder and ≥1 lifetime suicide attempt was divided into three groups according to age of first suicide attempt (childhood: N = 43, adolescent: N = 149, adulthood: N = 226) and compared on demographics, childhood adversity, parental psychopathology, comorbid lifetime axis I diagnoses, self-harm and characteristics of first attempt.
Participants in the Childhood Attempt group were more likely to report childhood adversity, parental alcohol use disorder and subsequent suicide attempts than the two other groups. They were also more likely to have a depressed mother, non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) during childhood and adolescence, lifetime PTSD and aggressive behavior than the Adulthood Attempt group. The Adolescent Attempt group had more childhood adversity, parental suicidal behavior, lifetime PTSD and NSSI during adolescence than the Adulthood Attempt group. The groups differed on methods of first attempt, and its lethality was related to age of attempt.
Early adversity and parental psychopathology are particularly prominent in those who make childhood suicide attempts, suggesting that this group may represent a suicidal behavior subtype.
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