Objective: To investigate risk and protective factors for medically serious suicide attempts among young Australian adults.
Method: The study used a case-control design. A clinical sample of 18-24 year olds was recruited via the emergency department of a large public hospital following a suicide attempt (n=95) and was compared to a sample of 18-24 year olds who participated in a population-based survey (n=380).
Results: Risk factors for medically serious suicide attempts included early school leaving, parental divorce (males only), distress due to problems with parents (females only), distress due to problems with friends, distress due to the break-up of a romantic relationship, tobacco use, high alcohol use, current depressive symptomatology and a previous diagnosis of depression. Protective factors included social connectedness, problem-solving confidence and locus of control. There was a trend for social connectedness to be more protective among those with high rather than low levels of depressive symptomatology, and among smokers rather than non-smokers.
Conclusions: Results are discussed in terms of designing evidence-based suicide prevention activities for young adults.