Treatment adherence among Latina female adolescent suicide attempters

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Winter 1999;29(4):319-31.


Clinicians must identify factors among suicide-attempting adolescents and their families that increase treatment adherence. Researchers assessed a consecutive series of 140 disenfranchised Latina adolescents (ages 12-18 years) and their mothers presenting at a large urban emergency room after a suicide attempt by the adolescent. Adherence was examined as it related to service delivery, individual background characteristics, and psychosocial factors (current symptomatology, treatment attitudes). Each factor was found to predict adolescent treatment adherence. Adolescents receiving a specialized emergency room program, those with a diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorder, and those from single-parent households attended significantly more therapy sessions compared to their suicide-attempting peers receiving standard emergency room care. Adolescents with a diagnosis of anxiety disorders and those whose mothers reported more psychopathology and perceived more cohesive family relationships tended to attend significantly fewer treatment sessions. The implications for the delivery of emergency room interventions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control*