Suicidal ideation in adolescence: examining the role of recent adverse experiences

J Adolesc. 2012 Feb;35(1):175-86. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.03.003. Epub 2011 Apr 9.


Although there is a well-known link between adverse experiences and suicidal ideation, there has been little study of the effects of recent adverse experiences on suicidal ideation in teenagers. This study examined the association between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation in a sample of 740 at-risk 16-year-old youth in the LONGSCAN studies, as well as potential mediators. 8.9% of the youth reported suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences, as a class, were associated with suicidal ideation; both recent physical abuse and recent psychological maltreatment were uniquely associated with suicidal ideation. The links between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation were significantly mediated by psychological distress. There were also significant main effect associations between both internalizing behavioral problems and low positive achievement expectations and suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences are important in understanding suicidal ideation in high risk youth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Violence / psychology*