The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice

By Rory C. O’Connor; Jane Pirkis | Go to book overview

17
Evidence-Based Prevention
and Treatment of Suicidal
Behavior in Children
and Adolescents

Yari Gvion and Alan Apter


Introduction

In this chapter, we review the literature on the epidemiology and biological, social, and psychological risk factors for suicidal behavior. We focus on the assessment of child and adolescent suicidality, and on universal prevention, selective prevention, and indicated prevention or treatment. Most of the literature surveyed relates to children and adolescents up to the age of 20 years, but where indicated we also included studies of very early adulthood.


Definitions of Suicidal Ideation and Behavior

There are different ways to define a suicide attempt, but common definitions often include the following characteristics: (a) self-initiated, potentially injurious behavior; (b) an intention to die; and (c) nonfatal outcome (Van Orden et al., 2010). The broader nomenclature of suicide behaviors without fatal outcome such as ideations, communications, and behaviors varies. Sometimes such behaviors are referred to as “suicidality” and other times they are described as “suicide-related behaviours” (Silverman, Berman, Sanddal, O’Carroll, & Joiner, 2007) or “suicidal behaviour” (Van Orden et al., 2010). In this chapter, we also consider deliberate self-harm. This phenomenon is also known as attempted suicide, parasuicide, and nonsuicidal selfinjury. This semantic uncertainty is problematic as preventive and treatment methods may vary as a function of the subtypes of suicidal behavior in youth (Apter, 2010; Bursztein & Apter, 2009) as well as in adults. It is noteworthy that some behavior that is not suicidal is labeled as such, while suicidal behavior may be missed, leading to misinterpretation in clinical and research settings (Posner, Melvin, Stanley, Oquendo, & Gould, 2007).

The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention, Second Edition. Edited by Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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