Suicide Risk Seen With Mental, Physical Conditions in Youths

Other study finds benefit of standardized patients in training pediatric interns regarding suicide
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Youths with chronic physical conditions have a slightly higher risk of self-harm, suicidal thinking and attempted suicide than healthy peers, and a suicide risk assessment training module using standardized patients is more effective in teaching pediatric interns than lecture alone, according to research published online April 12 in Pediatrics.

Andrew J. Barnes, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2007 Minnesota Student Survey on 136,549 students aged 10 to 19 years. Youths with co-occurring chronic mental and physical conditions had a higher risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation than healthy peers, similar to the risk seen in youths with only chronic mental conditions, but a higher risk of suicide attempt. Youths with only chronic physical conditions had a slightly elevated risk of all three outcomes compared with healthy peers.

Elise M. Fallucco, M.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed data from pediatric residents who received suicide risk assessment practice with standardized patients (SP) with or without a lecture; the lecture only; or no lecture or SP training. Those in the lecture plus SP group had greater confidence in screening adolescents for suicide risk factors and assessing suicidal adolescents compared to the lecture-only or control groups. Only the SP plus lecture group showed significantly greater objective knowledge of suicide risk factors than the control group (92 versus 25 percent correct).

"Our educational survey suggests that current generic exposure to patients with psychiatric problems during rotations in developmental and behavioral pediatrics and adolescent medicine is insufficient and results in relatively low senior resident confidence and knowledge in assessing patients with most psychiatric problems, especially in comparison with high senior resident confidence in assessing patients with common acute or chronic medical problems," Fallucco and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Barnes
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Abstract - Fallucco
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