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Suicidality linked to risky driving behaviours in high school students: Study

ANI | Updated: Jan 19, 2022 19:04 IST


Washington (US), January 19 (ANI): Two of the most common forms of death among adolescents have been suicide and motor vehicle traffic accidents.
A new study published in 'JAMA Pediatrics' found that adolescents who reported at least one suicide attempt within the last year, in comparison to those reporting no attempts, were more likely to also report infrequent seat belt use and driving with a drunk driver. There were also over twice as likely to report driving drunk.
The researchers analyzed data from over 13,500 U.S. high school students who participated in the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and found that 19 per cent of the sample reported suicidal ideation. Texting or e-mailing while driving was the most commonly reported form of risky driving behaviours.

"The findings from this study emphasize the need for mental health support for adolescents experiencing suicidality as a means of increasing safety for themselves and their communities, as accidental injury deaths via car accidents were the leading cause of death among adolescents in 2019," said lead author Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.
"The more severe the suicidality, the stronger the association with risky driving behaviours. Adolescents who reported a suicide injury, such as a poisoning or overdose needing to be treated by a medical professional, had the highest likelihood to report all four risky driving behaviours we examined," Kyle added.
The researchers emphasized the implications of their findings to protect the health and well-being of adolescents. "Health care professionals should consider discussing risky driving behaviours with teens who report suicidality," said co-author Jason M. Nagata, MD, MSc, assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco's Department of Paediatrics. (ANI)

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