Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—but not exposure to traumatic events without the development of PTSD—may be associated with subsequent attempted suicide in young adults, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Approximately 421,200 to 842,400 Americans age 15 to 24 attempt suicide every year, according to background information in the article. “History of a suicide attempt has been identified as one of the best predictors of a future attempt as well as completed suicide,” the authors write. Suicide was the third leading cause of death among U.S. young people in 2005.
Holly C. Wilcox, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore, and colleagues studied 1,698 young adults of a group of 2,311 who had been tracked since entering the first grade in Baltimore public schools. Fifteen years later, 90-minute interviews were conducted with the participants (average age 21) to assess the occurrence of traumatic experiences, suicide attempts and the development of PTSD.