Objectives: This study provides prevalence and persistence rates of suicidal ideation and self-harm, and examines how child maltreatment types, mental health symptoms, and age 4 suicidal ideation and self-harm are associated with each suicidal outcome among 6-year-old children.
Methods: Participants were 1,090 caregivers assessed when their children were 4 and 6 years old from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. Data were collected from the Child Behavior Checklist, Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales, and Child Protective Services.
Results: Persistence rates within each suicidal outcome were high. Failure to provide -a physical neglect subtype- was the only maltreatment type that independently predicted self-harm. Depressive/anxious symptoms and age 4 suicidal ideation were independently associated with age 6 suicidal ideation, whereas attention problems and age 4 self-harm predicted age 6 self-harm.
Conclusion: Our findings align with the consensus emerging from adolescent studies that risk factors associate differentially with suicidal ideation and self-harm.