What leads to suicide in young adults?
Suicide is the result of many complex factors. More than 90 percent of youth suicide victims have at least one major psychiatric disorder, although younger suicide victims have lower rates of psychopathology (Gould et al., 2003). It is important to note that while the majority of suicide victims have a history of psychiatric disorder, especially mood disorders, very few young adults with psychiatric disorder will go on to complete suicide.
Other important risk factors for suicide and suicidal behavior include:
- Prior suicide attempt
- Co-occurring mental and alcohol or substance abuse disorders
- Family history of suicide
- Parental psychopathology
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- Easy access to lethal methods, especially guns
- Exposure to the suicide of a family member, friend or other significant person
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Same-sex sexual orientation (only been shown for suicidal behavior, not suicide)
- Impaired parent-child relationships
- Life stressors, especially interpersonal losses and legal or disciplinary problems
- Lack of involvement in school and/or work ("drifting")