In a recent Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica study, poor academic performance, measured as grade point average (GPA) at age 16, was a robust and strong predictor of suicide attempt up to middle age.
For the study, researchers followed 26,315 Swedish girls and boys up to maximum 46 years of age. After controlling for potential confounding factors including childhood IQ, those in the lowest GPA quartile had a near five-fold higher risk of suicide attempt than those in the highest quartile.
"This is a highly elevated risk, and it is remarkable that it reaches far into adulthood. We would however need to know more to identify helpful interventions--for example, is school failure in itself a risk factor, or is poor performance rather an indicator of vulnerability?" said lead author Dr. Alma Sorberg Wallin, of the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden.