Precipitant stressors in adolescent (aged 13 to 19 years) suicides (N = 53) were investigated in a nationwide psychological autopsy study in Finland.
Data were collected through interviews with the victims' parents and health care personnel, and from official records.
Precipitants during the month preceding suicide were found in 70% of the cases. Almost half the precipitants occurred during the last 24 hours. Interpersonal separations and conflicts were the most common precipitants. Compared with other suicide victims, those with weakened parental support more often had interpersonal separation as a precipitant, a higher number of stressors during the final month, and had more often experienced major stress during the year before suicide.
The findings highlight the importance of stress (acute, chronic, or both) in adolescent suicide. Interpersonal problems were common precipitants in adolescent suicide. Among adolescents with weakened parental support, interpersonal separations were especially common precipitants. Additional research on precipitants in adolescent suicide is needed with proper control subjects.