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Likelihood of Engaging in Choking Game Higher in Troubled Teens

History of depression, conduct disorders in teens associated with participating in choking game

teens on a train tracks

MONDAY, Jan. 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents with higher levels of conduct disorder symptoms and greater rates of depressive symptoms have increased odds of reporting participation in the choking game, in which pressure is applied to the carotid artery to temporarily limit blood flow and oxygen, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Pediatrics.

Grégory Michel, Ph.D., from the University of Bordeaux in France, and colleagues used data from two cross-sectional studies conducted in 2009 and 2013, respectively, among French middle school students. Data from 746 and 1,025 students, respectively, were merged and the demographic and clinical characteristics of youth reporting a lifetime participation in the choking game were examined.

The researchers found that the lifetime prevalence of choking game participation was 9.7 percent; there were no statistically significant differences between the sexes. The likelihood of reporting choking game participation was increased significantly in association with higher levels of conduct disorder symptoms and greater rates of depressive symptoms (odds ratios, 2.33 and 2.18, respectively).

"In the current study, we provide a new arena for research by enlarging the field of investigation concerning the risk factors that may predict the course of asphyxial activities," the authors write. "In terms of prevention, interventions designed specifically for at-risk individuals seem to be required."

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