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Suicidal behavior and risk factors among runaway youths
Am J Psychiatry 1993;150:103-107.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to describe suicide attempts and risk factors among runaway adolescents. METHOD: A structured interview format was used to assess suicidal behavior and suicide-related risk factors among a consecutive series of 576 predominantly black or Hispanic runaway adolescents at intake into four publicly funded runaway programs in New York City over a 2-year period. There were no significant differences in age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, or socioeconomic status among the adolescents at the four runaway program sites. RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent of the youths had previously attempted suicide, and 44% of the attempters had made an attempt within the previous month. Females were significantly more likely than males to have attempted suicide and to be depressed. Male runaways were far more likely to have attempted suicide than nonrunaway male adolescents described in previously published reports. Runaways with histories of attempting suicide were significantly more likely to be currently suicidal and depressed. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates the need for systematic screening of runaway adolescents for suicidal ideation at residential shelters for youths.

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