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Childhood disruptiveness and anxiousness impact the relationship between childhood adversity and later suicide attempt

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Question: What influence do childhood anxiousness and disruptiveness have on the association between childhood adversity and later suicide attempts, and do mental disorders modify these associations?

People: Two groups were selected from 4488 participating children: a random selection of 2000 children forming a representative subsample, and a disruptive subsample comprising 1017 children showing disruptive behaviours.

Setting: Nursery schools, Quebec, Canada; recruitment 1986–1988.

Risk factors: Childhood anxiousness and disruptiveness assessed using the Social Behavior Questionnaire, and childhood adversity (sexual or physical abuse) assessed using the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study Questionnaire and Revised Conflict Tactics Scales. Potential moderators of externalising disorders (ADHD, oppositional-defiant disorder, conduct disorder) and internalising disorders (mood disorder and anxiety disorder) were assessed using the diagnostic interview schedule for children (DISC; DSM-III-R). Participants were assessed annually at age 6–12 years.

Outcomes: Suicide attempt (SA) status, assessed once during mid-adolescence (mean age 15.7 years) using the DISC, and again in young adulthood (mean age 21.4 years) using the Suicidal Intent Scale. Family …

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  • Sources of funding: None.


  • Competing interests None.

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