Suicidal Behavior Among Adolescent Students in Puerto Rico, Academic Years 2002-2003 and 2003-2004
Few studies have explored suicidal behavior among Puerto Ricans. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of suicidal ideation and attempts among adolescents, to determine if prevalences clustered spatially, and to determine the association between suicidal behaviors and socio-demographic, individual, family, peer, school, and community characteristics. This study is a secondary analysis of “Consulta Juvenil VI”, a Puerto Rican-wide crosssectional survey. The sample (n=55,227) was selected using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design, and is representative of all 7th-12th grade public school students in Puerto Rico. Weighted prevalence estimates were calculated, and correlates of their spatial patterns were explored. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. This is the first study in Puerto Rico to examine suicidal behavior and to explore its spatial patterns in an island-wide representative sample. It addresses the dearth of information about suicidal behavior among Puerto Ricans, and contributes to understanding how risk factors operate across multiple domains. Effective prevention strategies should target high risk groups in the geographic areas identified, and should address depression, particularly when expressed as part of family conflict. Future research should focus on better understanding depression in this population.