Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Self esteem, family support and suicide

In the U.S. suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between 15 and 24. One survey found that 16.9% of students had seriously considered suicide, 13% had made a plan and 8.4% had actually attempted to kill themselves. Self-esteem and family support are known to reduce the risk of suicidal behaviour but there has been little research into how the three factors influence one another. Researchers from the universities of Alexandria in Egypt and Seattle looked into this issue in a sample of 849 pupils considered to be at risk of dropping out of school in the Pacific Northwest and Northern New Mexico. They found that both self-esteem and family support reduced the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Interestingly the beneficial effect of self esteem was stronger in children with low levels of family support. The researchers thought that this might be because children who receive low levels of support from their family learn to fend for themselves thus building up their self esteem.

Sharaf, Amira Y., Thompson, Elaine A. and Walsh, Elaine - Protective effects of self-esteem and family support on suicide risk behaviors among at-risk adolescents Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing August 2009, 22(3), 160-168

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