Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News
Preteen Alcohol Use, Suicidal Behavior Linked
Adolescents who first drank alcohol before 13 years of age were significantly more likely to exhibit suicidal behavior than their peers who didn't drink alcohol, based on results from the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 13,639 U.S. students in grades 9-12.
About a quarter (25%) of the survey respondents reported drinking alcohol when they were younger than 13 years. Adolescents who reported preteen alcohol use were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide and nearly twice as likely to report suicidal thoughts, compared with nondrinking peers, reported Monica H. Swahn, Ph.D., and Robert M. Bossarte, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.
Alcohol use is a known risk factor for suicidal behavior in adolescents, but the researchers sought specific links between suicidal behavior and preteen alcohol use after controlling for multiple factors such as age, gender, race, history of sadness, history of physical abuse, and history of carrying a weapon, they said (J. Adolesc. …