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Boyhood Psychiatric Issues Predict Later Suicide Attempts

Female suicidality cannot be predicted in childhood

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Boys who show signs of psychiatric problems at the age of 8 years are at higher risk of suicide or attempted suicide later in life compared with their mentally healthy counterparts, but female suicidality cannot be predicted in childhood, according to study findings published in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Andre Sourander, M.D., of Turku University Hospital in Turku, Finland, and colleagues conducted a study of 5,302 people born in Finland in 1981 who were assessed for indications of psychopathologic conditions, as well as their performance at school and family demographics.

Among the cohort, there were 24 deaths among males aged 8 to 24, and of these, 13 were suicides; only two of the 16 deaths among females were suicides, the investigators found. There were 27 males and 27 females who committed suicide or who made a suicide attempt serious enough to result in hospital admission. Although self-reported symptoms of depression at the age of 8 were not predictive of subsequent suicide attempts, living in a broken family and reported psychological problems were both predictive of suicide among males but not among females, the researchers report.

"The results give additional support to the importance of early detection and treatment of psychiatric problems in males," the authors write.

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