Even factoring out depression, sleep problems in youths are the top markers for determining suicidal thoughts and behavior in adolescents, according to a new study by Idaho State University and University of Michigan researchers.

The study could have major implications on how clinicians pursue treatment with youth. The researchers conclude: "parents and primary care physicians are encouraged to be vigilant and screen for sleep problems in young adolescents."

Previous studies have shown that sleep is an important risk factor, but there is the question that if someone is depressed or exposed to other risk factors, does that affect their sleep patterns, according Maria Wong, Idaho State University associate professor of psychology, one of the principal investigators on the study, who teamed up with Professors Kirk Brower and Robert Zucker at the University of Michigan.

We wondered that if you control for depression, is there still a relationship between sleep deprivation and suicidal thoughts in adolescents," Wong said. "Our study controlled for depression and we still found that not being able to sleep well and a general feeling of tiredness are the two significant predictors to suicidal thoughts and behavior."

Wong was quick to point out that "we don't have proof that one causes the other," but that tiredness and trouble sleeping are good markers of risk factors in youth and suicidal behavior.

Source: Media Newswire