214283 Suicidality and help-seeking behaviors among young adults with disabilities: Implications for suicide prevention

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 2:30 PM - 2:48 PM

Elspeth M. Slayter, PhD, MSW , School of Social Work, Salem State University, Salem, MA
Little is known about the prevalence of suicidality among young adults with disabilities. The transition into young adult life is often fraught with a range of developmental and social challenges regardless of disability challenges which may be exacerbated through the experience of living with a disability. By developing a better sense of how suicidality manifests among young adults with disabilities, professionals can better target suicide prevention efforts and support the larger disability policy goals of community inclusion and social justice for an often-marginalized population. Drawing on data from the Community Psychiatric Epidemiology Study, a nationally-representative survey, the study sample consists of young adults with disabilities aged 18-24 (N=3,132,310) and a randomly-selected comparison group of young adults without disabilities (N=3,100,000). Given existing documentation of gender, racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of suicidality among youth in general, sub-population analyses are also presented. Age and gender-adjusted odds ratios for nine measures of suicide risk were derived from logistic regression analyses. Findings suggest that young adults with disabilities are over two times times as likely as their counterparts to report past year (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.98, p<.001) suicidal ideation, suicide plan-making (AOD=2.5, p<.001) or actual suicide attempts (AOR=2.4, p<.001). Implications relate to the need for transition planners across health and social service settings to be attuned to the increased risk faced by this population, and trained in both screening and assessment tools as well as appropriate intervention and/or referral strategies.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
To identify suicidality in young adults with disabilities To compare suicidality in young adults with and without disabilities To formulate a plan for increased surveillance of suicidality among young adults with disabilities

Keywords: Suicide, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have significant experience working with young adults with a range of disabilities who presented in court-based settings as suicidal. I am also trained in the appropriate use of large-scale data sets and related study methods, such as the one used in the present study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3304.0: Mental health and disability