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Poor Grades With Teens Linked to Suicide Risk


Researchers from the University Karolinska Institute and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare have found that kids with poor grades in school are associated with an increased risk of suicide at a young age.

One of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers is suicide

The Centers for Disease control report that it is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24 and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14.

The research found that suicide risk descended as grades rose. “The correlation is clear, despite having excluded young people who had been in hospital for mental health problems or drug-related diagnoses,” says Charlotte Björkenstam, doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet and managing director of the National Board of Health and Welfare’s cause-of-death register.

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The research showed that the highest suicide risk was by young people with incomplete grades. The same pattern was observed amongst boys and girls, although the risks were consistently higher for boys. Students whose grades were abve average had the lowest risk of suicide.

The reseaerchers took data from the final grades of approximately 900,000 former students born between 1972 and 1981. This period was during a time when Swedish schools used a five-point numerical grade scale. A follow-up was then made with respect to suicide up to the ages of 25 to 34. Their results show that those with the very highest grades had the lowest risk of committing suicide.

For the study, researchers controlled for a number of other variables, including the following factors: factors such as if the parent was single, the age of the mother, the parents’ mental health and possible drug use, and whether the student had been adopted.

"What our study reveals most of all is how important it is to identify and assist pupils who are unable to meet the performance requirements," says Ms Björkenstam.