Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2008 Oct 31;2:13-28.
doi: 10.4137/sart.s1044.

Adolescent Suicidal Behavior and Substance Use: Developmental Mechanisms

Affiliations
Free PMC article

Adolescent Suicidal Behavior and Substance Use: Developmental Mechanisms

Michael A Dawes et al. Subst Abuse. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Adolescent suicidal behaviors and substance use are disturbingly common. Research suggests overlap of some of the etiological mechanisms for both adolescent suicidal behavior and substance use, yet clear understanding of the complex relations between these behaviors and their causal underpinnings is lacking. A growing body of evidence and a diathesis model (Mann et al. 1999; Mann, 2003) highlight the importance of impulse control as a proximal risk factor for adolescent suicidal and substance use behaviors. This literature review extends current theory on the relationships between adolescent suicidal behavior and substance use by: (1) examining how, when, and to what extent adolescent development is affected by poor impulse control, stressful life events, substance use behavior, and biological factors; (2) presenting proposed causal mechanisms by which these risk factors interact to increase risk for suicidal behaviors and substance use; and (3) proposing specific new hypotheses to extend the diathesis model to adolescents at risk for suicide and substance use. More specifically, new hypotheses are presented that predict bidirectional relationships between stressful life events and genetic markers of 5-HT dysregulation; substance use behavior and impulsivity; and substance use behavior and suicide attempts. The importance of distinguishing between different developmental trajectories of suicidal and substance use behaviors, and the effects of specific risk and protective mechanisms are discussed. Use of new statistical approaches that provide for the comparison of latent growth curves and latent class models is recommended to identify differences in developmental trajectories of suicidal behavior and substance use. Knowledge gained from these prospective longitudinal methods should lead to greater understanding on the timing, duration, and extent to which specific risk and protective factors influence the outcomes of suicidal behavior and substance use. In turn, findings from these studies should inform researchers who conduct future treatment and prevention studies.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Adolescent substance use reported in the past month.
Figure 2
Figure 2
A development model of adolescent suicidal behavior and substance use (adapted from Mann et al. 1999).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 13 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Allen TJ, Moeller FG, Rhoades HM, et al. Impulsivity history and of drug dependence. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1998;50:137–45. - PubMed
    1. Anderson RN, Smith BL. Deaths: Leading causes for 2001. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2003;52:1–85. - PubMed
    1. Anguelova M, Benkelfat C, Turecki G. A systematic review of association studies investigating genes coding for serotonin receptors and the serotonin transporter: II. Suicidal behavior. Mol Psychiatry. 2003;8:646–53. - PubMed
    1. Anthony J, Petronis K. Early-onset drug use and risk of later drug problems. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1995;40:9–15. - PubMed
    1. APA (American Psychiatric Association) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press; 2000. pp. xxxi–xxxii.pp. 356 Text Revised.

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback