The Prevalence and Correlates of Suicidal Ideation and Behaviors in Preadolescents: An Exploratory Study of a Clinical Population 

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Helene Jackson, PhD (CUSSW)
Clinical Investigator: Annaclare van Dalen, PhD (JBFCS) 
Consultation from: Cynthia Pfeffer, Cornell University Medical Center 
Original Co-Investigator: Peg Hess, PhD (CUSSW)

This exploratory, cross-sectional study has collected data about a little understood phenomenon that many professionals believe to be one of the most common symptoms found in seriously mentally ill young children.  This research is expected to identify specific risk and protective factors associated with preadolescent suicide activity.  Among the variables hypothesized to place preadolescent at high risk for suicidality are childhood traumas and family and environmental stressors.  Among factors expected to be associated with lower risk for preadolescent suicidality are positive child attributes and social and family supports.  Children ages 5-11 and their families who apply for outpatient services at the Madeleine Borg Community Services of JBFCS, Pelham office have been interviewed to determine the prevalence of, and contextual factors associated with, suicidal ideation and behaviors.  Preadolescent suicidality is hypothesized to be a consequence of a complex set of related factors that exist between the child's micro systems and the environment.
The study results will be of use for the development of early identification, prevention and remediation interventions for this at risk population.
The study is being conducted by Principal Investigator Dr. Helene Jackson,  Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Peg Hess, Clinical Investigator Dr. Annaclare van Dalen, with consultation from Dr. Cynthia Pfeffer, Cornell University Medical Center.  The study is partially funded with a grant of $6,000 from the Lois and Samuel Silberman Fund with additional funding from the Center's Research Development Program.  The study began in September 1992.