Passive suicidal ideation in childhood: Associated factors based on primary caregiver reports
van Hove, L., Baetens, I., van Leeuwen, K., Roelants, M., Wiersema, J.R., Lewis, S.P., & Heath, N.
Background: A growing body of empirical research shows that suicidal behaviors are prevalent in childhood. Yet, few studies have examined risk factors related to suicidal ideation (SI) among children aged 12 and younger. Aims: The current study addresses this gap. Method: A questionnaire was filled out by 1,350 Flemish primary caregivers (94.7% mothers) of 9-year-old children (50.4% boys, Mage = 9.45). Their responses were analyzed using logistic regression and independent samples t tests. Results: The presence of passive SI was reported in 10.5% of the children. A psychiatric, developmental, or behavioral condition (or multiple conditions), a learning disorder, impulsivity, aggression, and experiencing multiple stressful family life events were discovered as potential risk factors of passive SI in childhood. Limitations: The cross-sectional nature of this study meant that causality could not be inferred. In addition, it was based on reports of primary caregivers, rather than on reports from the children themselves. Conclusion: These new empirical findings can be used for the development of prevention programs and be taken into account in risk assessments of SI in clinical practice. Confirmation of our findings in a longitudinal child-reported study is needed.