Suicide Risks in Adopted Adolescence
In a recent article published by Fox News it states that a new study shows a relation in suicidal tendencies to adopted adolescents. This article is based on a study from Sweden that found adopted children attempted suicide more often and a similar study conducted at the University of Minnesota by Margaret Keyes a psychologist on American adopted children. The article makes a point to stress that the studies do not directly show that all adopted children will attempt suicide or have suicidal thoughts and tendencies, rather they raise the question why is it that the children have these feelings and thoughts. The Minnesota study shows that throughout the three year study that 56 participants attempted suicide, out of the fifty-six attempts 47 were adopted. And when self-harm was taken into consideration the adopted children showed 3.7 times increase above the non-adopted children (Fox, 2013)
This article has several areas that require further investigation to explain the relation between adoption and suicide. At this point in time suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents ages 10 to 24 (Fox, 2013) and these studies can possibly lead to an explanation and a prevention program to allow parents and psychologists to see risk factors before it is too late to act. While it is stated that this study was not diverse enough to generalize the nation several worrisome questions arise. Why is it that adopted children are more likely to be at risk for suicidal behavior and attempts? Are there other contributing factors to the risk, are children who were adopted abroad versus domestically at a higher risk? However, one question can be easily answered this is not the stereotypical “teenage angst” that would have likely been seen as the culprit a decade ago. The answer to these questions can lie between several contributing factors including but not limited to: Biological factors, loss of self-identity and culture, and weak attachments to the adoptive family.
First off, biological factors. These factors can include psychological problems from the biological parent such as, depression, drug dependency, or mental disorders. In many private adoption cases the adoptive parents are not aware of the medical history of the biological parents. In speculation it is thought that the biological predisposition of the child could lead to suicidal risks such as depression or a history of suicide however a study done in 2012 by several psychiatrists at John Hopkins it is shown that adopted children whose only biological parents were hospitalized for psychiatric disorders including suicide were less likely to commit suicide compared to those whose adoptive parents were hospitalized for psychiatric disorders not including suicide. The conclusion of this study states, “These results imply that suicide attempts among those at biological risk might be prevented with the early recognition and care of parental psychiatric illness...