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      A focus on recent cases of suicides among Italian children and adolescents and a review of literature

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          Abstract

          Suicidal behaviors are among the leading causes of death worldwide. The large spread of suicide suggests that educational programs and literature to parents or guardians should include information about the potential risks and potential consequences of the onset of the idea of suicide in children. We identified 55 cases of suicide among children and young adults <18-year-old occurring in Italy between 1st January, 2011 and 31st December, 2013. The results point to the need to increase our understanding of the dramatic rise in suicidal behaviors during childhood/adolescence and of the causal pathways linking these behaviors to child-adolescent mental disorders. During routine care visits, pediatricians should be skilled to recognize risk factors for adolescent suicide in order to intervene appropriately.

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          Most cited references11

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          Adolescent suicide and suicidal behavior.

          This review examines the descriptive epidemiology, and risk and protective factors for youth suicide and suicidal behavior. A model of youth suicidal behavior is articulated, whereby suicidal behavior ensues as a result of an interaction of socio-cultural, developmental, psychiatric, psychological, and family-environmental factors. On the basis of this review, clinical and public health approaches to the reduction in youth suicide and recommendations for further research will be discussed.
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            Cyber bullying and physical bullying in adolescent suicide: the role of violent behavior and substance use.

            The impact of bullying in all forms on the mental health and safety of adolescents is of particular interest, especially in the wake of new methods of bullying that victimize youths through technology. The current study examined the relationship between victimization from both physical and cyber bullying and adolescent suicidal behavior. Violent behavior, substance use, and unsafe sexual behavior were tested as mediators between two forms of bullying, cyber and physical, and suicidal behavior. Data were taken from a large risk-behavior screening study with a sample of 4,693 public high school students (mean age = 16.11, 47 % female). The study's findings showed that both physical bullying and cyber bullying associated with substance use, violent behavior, unsafe sexual behavior, and suicidal behavior. Substance use, violent behavior, and unsafe sexual behavior also all associated with suicidal behavior. Substance use and violent behavior partially mediated the relationship between both forms of bullying and suicidal behavior. The comparable amount of variance in suicidal behavior accounted for by both cyber bullying and physical bullying underscores the important of further cyber bullying research. The direct association of each risk behavior with suicidal behavior also underscores the importance of reducing risk behaviors. Moreover, the role of violence and substance use as mediating behaviors offers an explanation of how risk behaviors can increase an adolescent's likelihood of suicidal behavior through habituation to physical pain and psychological anxiety.
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              Youth risk behavior surveillance--United States, 2003.

              Priority health-risk behaviors, which contribute to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among youth and adults, often are established during youth, extend into adulthood, are interrelated, and are preventable. This report covers data collected during February-December 2003. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors six categories of priority health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults--behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity--plus overweight. YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by CDC as well as state and local school-based surveys conducted by education and health agencies. This report summarizes results from the national survey, 32 state surveys, and 18 local surveys conducted among students in grades 9-12 during February-December 2003. In the United States, 70.8% of all deaths among persons aged 10-24 years result from only four causes: motor-vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide. Results from the 2003 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrated that, during the 30 days preceding the survey, numerous high school students engage in behaviors that increase their likelihood of death from these four causes: 30.2% had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol; 17.1% had carried a weapon; 44.9% had drunk alcohol; and 22.4% had used marijuana. In addition, during the 12 months preceding the survey, 33.0% of high school students had been in a physical fight, and 8.5% had attempted suicide. Substantial morbidity and social problems among young persons also result from unintended pregnancies and STDs, including HIV infection. In 2003, 46.7% of high school students had ever had sexual intercourse; 37% of sexually active students had not used a condom at last sexual intercourse; and 3.2% had ever injected an illegal drug. Among adults aged > or =25 years, 62.9% of all deaths results from two causes: cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Results from the 2003 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrate that the majority of risk behaviors associated with these two causes of death are initiated during adolescence. In 2003, a total of 21.9% of high school students had smoked cigarettes during the 30 days preceding the survey; 78% had not eaten > or =5 servings/day of fruits and vegetables during the 7 days preceding the survey; 33.4% had participated in an insufficient amount of physical activity; and 13.5% were overweight. YRBSS data are being used to measure progress toward achieving 15 national health objectives for 2010 and three of the 10 leading health indicators. In addition, education and health officials at national, state, and local levels are using these YRBSS data to improve policies and programs to reduce priority health-risk behaviors among youth.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Ital J Pediatr
                Ital J Pediatr
                Italian Journal of Pediatrics
                BioMed Central
                1824-7288
                2014
                15 July 2014
                : 40
                : 69
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Pediatrics, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy
                Article
                s13052-014-0069-3
                10.1186/s13052-014-0069-3
                4445587
                25022200
                e34fff5f-4cef-49d1-a1ae-a347bf1e80fa
                Copyright © 2014 Ferrara et al.; licensee BioMed Central.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                History
                : 11 February 2014
                : 8 July 2014
                Categories
                Review

                Pediatrics
                suicides,children,adolescents,bullying
                Pediatrics
                suicides, children, adolescents, bullying

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