Year: 2006 Source: Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, v.27, no.1, (February 2006), p.33-39 SIEC No: 20070764

Little is known about rates and correlates of suicidal ideation among nonclinical samples of preadolescents from low-income urban backgrounds. Using the Children’s Depression Inventory, we measured suicidal ideation in 131 preadolescent urban children (49% female, 90% African American/Caribbean) participating in an ongoing prospective longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure and children’s outcome. Suicidal ideation was reported by 14.5% of the children in this sample at 9 to 10 years of age. Children’s reports of depressive symptoms, exposure to violence, and distress symptoms in response to witnessing violence were associated with suicidal ideation, but prenatal cocaine exposure, parent-rated child behavior, and caregivers’ psychological distress symptoms were not. Suicidal ideation may be more prevalent among preadolescents from urban, low-income backgrounds than clinicians suspect, particularly among children exposed to violence.