Parent-offspring conflict and cost-benefit analysis in adolescent suicidal behavior
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Data on birth order and parent-offspring relations for 1,601 adolescents participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used to test hypotheses about the role of adolescent suicidal behavior in parent-offspring conflict. Among adolescents highly dissatisfied with their mothers, the odds that middleborns would make at least one suicide attempt was 23% that of first- and lastborns (p<.001), but their odds of receiving medical treatment for their attempts was 8.5 times greater than the odds for first- and lastborns (p=.032). The results are tentatively interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that adolescents use suicide attempts to leverage investment from their parents.
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