Predictors of Suicide and Weapon Carrying Among High School Students
Annalyn DeMello, MPH, BSN, RN, CPN1; Jodi Behr, MSN, APRN,RNC-NIC, ACCNS-P2; Carolyn Tran, DNP, APRN, GNP-BC, PMHNP-BC1
1University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Missouri City, TX; 2University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
With increased incidence of bullying among high school students and recent school shootings, families are left with the perception that schools are unsafe places. Vulnerability to violence, either inflicted upon themselves or directed by other students, is of utmost concern. The purpose of this study is to identify predictors of suicidal ideation and carrying weapons among US high school students.
Data were derived from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, completed by United States' public and private high school students. Two separate binary logistic regressions were run using suicidal ideation and carrying weapons on school property as the outcomes. Both models used the same independent variables: gender, race, fighting at school, forced sexual intercourse, being bullied, feeling sad, marijuana, and heroin use.
Depression was the strongest predictor of suicidal ideation (OR=10.64, 95% CI 9.35-12.04). Other significant associations were with heroin use, forced intercourse, and carrying weapons to school.
Heroin use was the strongest predictor of carrying weapons to school (OR=3.22, 95% CI 2.15-4.83). Other significant associations were with alcohol use and suicidal ideation.
In prioritizing interventions to curb self-directed or outwardly directed violence, this study indicates that it is crucial to turn our attention to the problems of depression and drug use. School personnel must be trained to recognize warning signs and act to avoid escalation of violence.
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