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Suicide Attempts More Common Among Adopted Teens

By Suzanne Rostler

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adolescents who live with adoptive parents
may be more likely than their peers to attempt suicide, researchers report.

However, being part of a close-knit family appears to lower the risk of
suicide for all teens. And the majority of adopted teens are not suicidal,
according to findings published in the online edition of the August issue of

``The main message of this study is that communication, seeking common
ground, warmth, love and the sense of satisfaction the adolescent has with
the (family) relationship, even when angry or rebelling, is critically
important,'' Dr. Gail Slap, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.
The study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of
Medicine in Ohio of more than 6,500 students in grades 7 through 12 found
that 7.6% of adopted adolescents had attempted suicide in the past year,
compared with about 3% of their peers. Adopted adolescents were also
more likely to have received psychological or emotional counseling--about
17% of adopted youth compared with 8% of non-adopted youth.

Adolescents who had tried to commit suicide were more likely to be
depressed, smoke cigarettes, engage in delinquent behavior, have a low
self-image and be female, the investigators found. There were no significant
differences between those who had attempted suicide and those who had
not in terms of age, race, parents' education and family income.

Mothers of teens who had tried to commit suicide were more likely to
describe their children as ``bad-tempered'' than were mothers of
adolescents who did not attempt suicide, the report indicates.

The study included students who were living with their adoptive or biological
mothers and had never been separated from the mother for more than 6
months. All mothers were in their first marriage, increasing the likelihood
that children lived in two-parent families and had not experienced divorce.

Overall, just over 3% of the students in the study were living with adoptive
mothers, the authors note.

Slap said that the study did not investigate why adoption may be a risk
factor for suicide.

SOURCE: Pediatrics 2001;108:e30.

http://www.adoptionhealing.com/Suicide.htmAdoption Suicide