Teens are likelier to commit suicide if they feel that their parents don’t express interest in their emotional well-being, according to a recent US study. The study was presented at the American Public Health Association conference in Atlanta.
The research was conducted by the University of Cincinnati in the wake of numerous suicide reports across the United States. In November, a 13-year old in California and a 10-year old girl in Colorado hanged themselves. According to their parents, they committed suicide due to intense bullying at school.
„Kids need to know that someone’s got their back, and unfortunately, many of them do not. That’s a major problem.” Said Keith King, who is responsible for the University of Cincinnati’s health promotion and education doctoral programme.
King and his colleague, Rebecca Vidourek, looked at a 2012 national survey of people 12 and older that revealed a link between the way parents behaved and suicidal thoughts among teenagers. The findings pointed out to a prevalence of suicidal thought in 12- and 13- year-olds.
The affected teens said that their parents rarely or never told them how proud they were of them. This pattern, reportedly, made the adolescents five times likelier to have suicidal thoughts. They were also seven times more likely to think of a suicide plan. Among positive reassurance, not helping their kids with their homework was another important action that parents with suicidal children failed to do.
According to the researchers, teens aged 16 and 17 whose parents rarely or never said they were proud of them, were three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. They were also four times more likely to formulate a suicide plan and attempt suicide.
While the results followed a similar pattern throughout every age group, researchers did acknowledge that the survey was based on how the youths viewed their parent’s behaviors. This, in turn, might make parents disagree with how their children responded.
„Youth perceptions are extremely important to suicidal ideations and attempts,”King said.
King listed several possible ways for parents to be more involved in their children’s activities. He says that direct communication and direct interactions that are authoritative in nature between the parent and the adolescent are important to protect the latter against suicide.
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