Reactive Aggression and Suicidal Behaviors in Children Receiving Outpatient Psychological Services: The Moderating Role of Hyperactivity and Inattention

Madelaine R. Abel, Jonathan L. Poquiz, Paula J. Fite, Rachel L. Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study examines associations between reactive and proactive aggression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among youth (N = 115, 62% male), ranging from 6 to 12 years, seeking services in an outpatient psychological clinic. Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity and inattention were evaluated as potential moderators of this link. Children and a caregiver completed self- and parent-report questionnaires on aggression, suicidal behaviors, depressive symptoms, and ADHD-related behaviors during intake. Reactive aggression was more strongly linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors than proactive aggression. Further, hyperactivity/impulsivity, but not inattention, moderated the association between reactive aggression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, such that reactive aggression was only associated with suicidal behaviors at high levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity. These findings were evident for reactive, not proactive, aggression and when accounting for the variance associated with depressive symptoms, age, and gender. Hyperactivity/impulsivity is discussed as a potentially important target among reactively aggressive youth for prevention of suicidal behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-12
Number of pages11
JournalChild psychiatry and human development
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattention
  • Reactive/proactive aggression
  • Suicidal behavior

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