Suicide rates in Mexico have increased and have more than doubled in the state of Aguascalientes over the past 10 years. Few studies have been able to control for family, neighborhood, and occupational environment factors that may confound the association between psychosocial characteristics and suicidal behavior. We study suicidal behavior among adolescents and young adults in Mexico utilizing epidemiologic research strategies to overcome prior research deficiencies. In a case-control study with youth and adults 14-42 years of age, recent cases of severe suicidal behavior (n=150) were individually matched with up to three controls who had never had a suicidal attempt by age and sex, as well as within familial, neighborhood, and occupational contexts (n = 353). Data were collected through standardized face-to-face interviews to measure suicidal behavior and several covariates, including family relations, psychological resources, hopelessness, depression, self-esteem, stress, impulsivity, anxiety, and substance use. All measures demonstrated good to excellent precision and accuracy. Compared with their matched controls, cases perceived life events as more stressful and had worse depression and familial relationships; poorer development of affective, religious, and social resources; higher levels of hopelessness and impulsive behavior; and lower self-esteem. Evidence from multivariate analysis suggests highly probable MDE combined with low self-esteem and the use of two or more drugs in the past month more clearly differentiate cases and controls and, therefore, may best predict suicidal attempt among adolescents and young adults in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
suicide; risk and protective factors; young adults; prevention