Suicidal Behaviour Among Adolescents and Young Adults with Self-Reported Chronic Illness
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OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to estimate the: (1) 12-mo prevalence of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts in a population sample of adolescents and young adults with and without chronic illness; (2) associations among chronic illness and suicidal thoughts and behaviour (STB); and, (3) moderating roles of mood and substance use disorder on this association. METHOD: Individuals were aged 15 to 30 y ( n = 5,248) from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health. Twelve-month STB and psychiatric disorder were measured using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. Multinomial logistic regression examined associations between chronic illness and STB, adjusting for relevant sociodemographic and health characteristics. Product term interactions among chronic illness, mood, and substance use disorders were included in the regression models to examine potential moderating effects. RESULTS: Prevalence of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts was higher in individuals with chronic illness ( P < 0.01 for all). After adjustment, chronic illness increased the odds for suicidal thoughts [OR = 1.28 (1.01 to 1.64)], plans [OR = 2.34 (1.22 to 4.39)], and attempts [OR = 4.63 (1.52 to 14.34)]. In the presence v. absence of a mood disorder, the odds for suicidal thoughts were higher among individuals with chronic illness [OR = 1.89 (1.06 to 5.28)]. CONCLUSIONS: Suicidal thoughts and behaviours are common among adolescents and young adults with chronic illness, particularly among those with comorbid mood disorders. Health professionals should routinely ask about STB during assessments of their adolescent and young adult patients.
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