Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents. This study aimed to compare the characteristics and short-term outcomes of Turkish and American adolescents with suicide attempts and determine the differences in management and resource utilization between two pediatric emergency departments; one in Türkiye and one in the United States of America. Materials and methods: Adolescents who presented to the emergency departments with a chief complaint of suicide attempt between October 2017 and September 2018 were eligible for including in the study. Characteristics and other information of 217 (131 American and 86 Turkish) suicide attempter adolescents were retrieved from medical records. Outcome was defined as re-admission to the emergency department for another suicide attempt within 3 months of the index visit. Results: Overall, 78% of adolescents were female. Abuse history (physical/sexual) was more common among American adolescents (p = 0.005), whereas uncontrolled psychiatric diseases were more evident in Turkish cases (p < 0.001). Social worker assessment and hospitalization rates were significantly lower, with shorter mean duration of follow-up in the emergency department among Turkish compared to American adolescents (respectively, p < 0.001, p < 0.001 and p = 0.002). Repeated suicide attempts within three months were significantly higher in the Turkish group compared to the American one (29% vs. 8%, p < 0.001). Receiving a social worker assessment, hospitalization and longer observation in emergency department reduced the incidence of repeated suicide attempts (respectively, p < 0.001, p = 0.003 and p = 0.012). Conclusion: Turkish adolescents had shorter observation time in the emergency department, received fewer assessment by social workers and were less likely to be hospitalized. These may have contributed to the higher rate of repeat suicide attempts following discharge from the emergency department. Adequate resources are needed to help decrease the burden of suicide among Turkish adolescents.


Adolescent, cross-cultural, emergency department, suicide

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