265527 Dating Violence as Predictor of Suicidal Thoughts and Plans among Adolescents

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lusine Nahapetyan, MPH , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Pamela Orpinas, PhD , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Xiao Song, PHD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Caroline McNicholas, MA , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background: One in seven high school students in the United States reports suicidal thoughts. During the same time period, the prevalence of dating and dating violence increases. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between physical dating violence and suicidal thoughts or plans in a longitudinal cohort of students evaluated annually from Grades 9-12. Methods: The sample consisted of 556 randomly-selected students (50.2% males; 47.5% White, 37.8% Black, 11.2% Latino) who reported dating at least once during the four assessments. Self-reported frequency of suicidal thoughts/plans during the past 12 months, dating, physical dating violence perpetration and victimization during the past 3 months were assessed each spring from ninth to twelfth grade. Generalized estimating equations modeling was used to predict the effects of gender, race, dating, school grade, physical victimization and perpetration on the suicidal thoughts /plans. Analyses were conducted with SAS 9.2. Results: The prevalence of suicidal thoughts/plans in Grades 9-12 was 13.8%, 12.1%, 13.3%, and 9.4%, respectively. Cumulatively, 25.5% of the sample reported suicidal thoughts/plans at least once by the end of Grade 12. Female gender (OR=1.7, p=0.02), physical dating victimization (OR=2.03, p<0.001), physical dating perpetration (OR=1.54, p=0.048), and lower grades in high school (OR=1.83, p=0.004) were significant predictors of suicidal thoughts/plans. However, race and dating were not significant predictors among adolescents in this sample. Conclusion: Prevalence of suicidal thoughts/plans was similar to the national averages. This longitudinal study highlights the detrimental emotional effect of physical dating violence perpetration and victimization, particularly among girls.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the prevalence of suicidal thoughts/plans among adolescents in high school. 2. Describe the cumulative prevalence of suicidal thoughts in Grades 9 to 12. 3. Explain the association between physical dating violence and suicidal thoughts or plans.

Keywords: Adolescents, Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked as a graduate research assistant on the Healthy Teens Project for 1.5 years. Among my scientific interests are dating violence and suicide prevention.
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.

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