Adolescent Suicidal Ideation

By Field, Tiffany; Diego, Miguel et al. | Adolescence, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Adolescent Suicidal Ideation


Field, Tiffany, Diego, Miguel, Sanders, Christopher E., Adolescence


ABSTRACT

Adolescent suicidal ideation and its relationship to other variables was tapped by a self-report questionnaire administered to 88 high school seniors. Eighteen percent responded positively to the statement "sometimes I feel suicidal." Those who reported suicidal ideation were found to differ from those who did not on a number of variables, including family relationships (quality of relationship with mother, intimacy with parents, and closeness to siblings), family history of depression (maternal depression), peer relations (quality of peer relationships, popularity, and number of friends), emotional well-being (happiness, anger, and depression), drug use (cigarettes, marijuana, and cocaine), and grade point average. Stepwise regression indicated that happiness explained 48% of the variance in suicidal ideation, and number of friends, anger, and marijuana use explained an additional 20%, for a total of 66% of the variance. While 34% of the variance remained unexplained, it is suggested that the questions used to measure these four variables be included in global screenings to identify adolescents at risk for suicidal ideation.

Suicidal ideation is typically investigated using multivariate models that include the following factors: family relationships, loneliness, anger, depression, and substance abuse (Jacobs, Brewer, & Klein, 1999). In a recent multivariate study of 120 adolescents, discriminant function analyses indicated that high levels of depression and anger expression predicted self-reported wish to die (Boergers, Spirito, & Donaldson, 1998). In a similar study of 374 high school students, social support and depression were significantly related to suicidal ideation levels one year later (Mazza & Reynolds, 1998). The research regarding family relationships has generally focused on social support. Peer relationships have often been overlooked except for the use of loneliness as a variable. In one study, suicidal thinking was found to be related to greater loneliness (Roberts, Roberts, & Chen, 1998). In that study, as in many studies, depression was the strongest factor to emerge in the regression analyses. In fact, in one st udy when the effect of depression was removed, the relationships between suicidal ideation and other correlates weakened or disappeared (De Man, 1999). In longitudinal studies, depression has been found to be the most frequent predictor of subsequent suicidal ideation and attempts, with suicidal ideation and attempts in turn being predictors of subsequent depression (see Fisher, 1999, for a review).

Family history of depression is also a significant risk factor (Brent, Moritz, Liotus, Schweers, Balach, Roth, & Perper, 1998). In particular, this has been noted for maternal depression (Garber, Little, Hilsman, & Weaver, 1998).

As noted, anger is often seen along with depression in adolescents who experience suicidal ideation (Boergers et al., 1998). In one recent study, adolescents who were depressed were at greater risk if they also manifested high levels of anger and aggression (Stein, Apter, Ratzoni, Har-Even, & Avidin, 1998). In another study, adolescent males were found to be at greater risk for suicidality if they were aggressive, and adolescent females were at greater risk if they were depressed (Prigerson & Slimack, 1999).

Gender differences have also been noted for the relationships between depression, substance use, and suicidality. In their model of adolescent suicide risk, Metha, Chen, Mulvenon, and Dode (1998) reported that males progressed from depression to substance use and then to suicide risk, while females progressed directly from depression to suicide risk. Similarly, in a longitudinal study across a 21-year period (1970-1990), detailed analyses of a random sample of 80 psychiatric patients showed that suicidal behavior increased significantly among male adolescents only, and substance misuse correlated with that increase over time (Fombonne, 1998).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Adolescent Suicidal Ideation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?