Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Children raised in homes with a lot of conflict and little parental supervision are more likely to attempt suicide, a new study has revealed.
In findings published Friday by JAMA Network Open, researchers found that as many as 6.4 percent of nearly 12,000 nine- and 10-year-olds surveyed had at least considered taking their own lives.
Their risk for having these thoughts -- referred to as "suicidal ideation" -- was higher if they lived in a home in which parents frequently argued or there was other discord.
"We believe that parental monitoring, knowing where your children are, what they're doing and talking to them about their feelings is critical to addressing these issues," study co-author Florence Breslin, of Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Okla., told UPI. "However, we also believe that pediatricians and primary care providers need to play a role in not just assessing these issues, but ensuring that the assessments are directly with the child and that they start at an earlier age."
Breslin and her colleagues, part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, or ABCD study team at the Laureate Institute, recruited 11,814 children from 21 schools as well as their caregivers for the analysis.
Overall, within the study population, the prevalence of a lifetime history of "passive" suicidal ideation -- defined as the "wish to be dead" -- was 6.4 percent.
Meanwhile lifetime prevalence of non-specific active suicidal ideation -- defined as wanting to end one's own life without consideration of a suicide method, intent or plan -- and active ideation -- with method, intent or plan -- was 4.4 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
In addition, 1.3 percent of the study participants, all of whom were nine- and 10 years old, had attempted suicide at least one, while more than 9 percent had sustained a "non-suicidal self-injury," such as the practice of "cutting."
Among those in homes with high family conflict, based on responses to the Family Environment Scale, a widely used questionnaire in behavioral health, risk for suicidal ideation was up to 12 percent higher, while risk for self injury was up to 9 percent higher.
"We will continue to follow this population over time, so we can see if these early indications actually identify youth that then become suicidal as they get older," Breslin said. "We also will begin to look more closely at other modifiable factors to be able to give recommendations towards reducing the current rates."