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January 25, 1995

Suicide and Homicide Among Adolescents

Author Affiliations

Elizabeth General Medical Center Elizabeth, NJ

JAMA. 1995;273(4):352. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520280100053

This work is an important contribution to our understanding of a troubling social ill of our time—violence by and upon adolescents. The authors examine suicide and homicide in terms of the similarities and differences in the two forms of adolescent wastage and, in turn, offer a comprehensive approach to adolescent violence. They view their subject in both epidemiologic and clinical terms and demonstrate the relevance of a medical perspective in an initiative against violence.

The authors combine their own considerable work with the literature, pursuing the available empirical findings and avoiding sensational and narrative anecdotal aspects of adolescent tragedy. They note, for example, that the media report adolescent deaths with a regularity that spotlights the issue and distorts its longitudinal aspects. They also note that entirely national data have been available only since 1933 and suggest that adolescent violent death rates may have been greater in past centuries. In relation

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