Yıldız, M. (2020). Stressful life events and adolescent suicidality: An investigation of the mediating mechanisms. J Adolesc.
vol. 82 pp. 32-40
INTRODUCTION While a number of studies have found an association between stressful life events and adolescent suicidality, underlying mechanisms linking the two continue to be inadequately understood. Drawing upon the stress process, general strain, and support deterioration theories, this study examined the relationship between stressful life events and suicidality in U.S. adolescents, focusing on the mediating roles of depression, substance use, and perceived social support. METHODS The data came from the first two waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 12,801; M age = 15 at Wave I; 50.2% female). Mediation analyses were performed using the Karlson-Holm-Breen (KHB) method developed for nonlinear probability models. RESULTS Depression, substance use, and perceived social support accounted for a substantial part of the effect of stressful life events on suicidal ideation (57%) and attempts (43%). All mediating effects were statistically significant. Depression was a relatively stronger mediator for both suicidal outcomes. Significant relationships among stressful life events and suicidal outcomes persisted even after adjusting for the proposed mediators. CONCLUSION Stressful life events increase suicidality in adolescents, partly by increasing psychological distress and eroding perceived social support. Findings underscore the necessity of continued emphasis on stress management and support programs in reducing suicidality among vulnerable adolescents exposed to these types of occurrences.