Behavior: Adolescent Suicide

Every year about 1,000 U.S. young people between the ages of 14 and 21 take their own lives, and thousands more try unsuccessfully. Behavioral scientists have long believed that it is mostly girls who make the unsuccessful attempts. Now a new study of female adolescent suicide based chiefly on 750 case histories confirms that impression. Among those who try to kill themselves and fail, says Boston University Psychologist Pamela Cantor, girls outnumber boys 9 to 1; among those who succeed, boys are in the majority by a 3-to-l ratio.

The boys succeed because they really want to die, says Psychologist Cantor, which...

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