CitationThompson, Martie; Kuruwita, Chinthaka E.; & Foster, Michael (2009). Transitions in suicide risk in a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. vol. 44 (5) pp. 458-463
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among older adolescents, and represents a significant public health problem. Preventing suicidal behavior depends on an understanding of the developmental transitions in suicide risk and whether the likelihood of a suicide attempt can be predicted prospectively.
Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used for the study. The sample is nationally representative, and includes 10,424 youth assessed over three time points spanning 7 years. MPLUS was used to analyze the data.
Latent class analysis showed that youth could be classified into three latent classes representing degree of suicide risk. Indicators of risk included depressive symptoms, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, having a family history of suicidal behavior, and having a friend history of suicidal behavior. Latent transition analyses showed that youth in the low-risk group remained at low risk both 1 and 7 years later. Although some youth who were classified as high-risk transitioned to a lower risk group 7 years later, a significant proportion remained at high risk. Analyses also revealed that the probability of making a suicide attempt was higher for youth in the high-risk latent class 1 and 7 years earlier.
Findings indicate that suicide prevention efforts should be targeted primarily at youth at high risk for suicide; most youth classified as “low risk” remained at low risk as they transitioned to young adulthood.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJournal of Adolescent Health
Kuruwita, Chinthaka E.