Friday, September 5, 2008

Teen suicide rate remains high

From the September 3rd edition of the Chicago Tribune:
Researchers look for cause, Judith Graham writes

A year after experts sounded an alarm about a sharp rise in the number of young people taking their lives, teen suicide rates remain higher than expected, according to research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The new data, from 2005, suggest that the long-term decline in teen suicide rates throughout the 1990s and the early part of this decade has moderated and may be nearing an end. Still, the findings are far from definitive.

The new JAMA report relies on a "what if" calculation. First, researchers looked at suicide trends for 10- to 19-year-olds from 1996 to 2003, a period when suicide rates sloped downward. Next, they predicted what suicide rates would have been in 2005 if the trend held.

The predicted rate of teen suicide for that year was 3.8 deaths per 100,000 young people; the actual rate was 4.49 deaths per 100,000, a statistically significant difference.

"Based on recent historical trends, we would have expected these rates to be a lot lower," said Jeffrey Bridge, lead author of the JAMA research letter and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University. "We need to understand what's causing this."
To read the entire article, click here.

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