Risk for suicidal ideation and attempt among a primary care sample of adolescents engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2014 Dec;44(6):616-28. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12094. Epub 2014 Apr 11.


One in five adolescents in the United States has engaged in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), one in eight have had serious thoughts of suicide, and one in 25 have attempted suicide. Research suggests that NSSI may increase risk for suicide attempt, yet little is known about the relationship between NSSI and suicidal ideation or attempts. In a primary care setting, 1,561 youth aged 14-24 years completed a brief, comprehensive, mental health screen as part of a routine well visit to determine which factors were most likely to predict suicidal ideation and attempt among youth engaging in NSSI. Results of recursive partitioning revealed that current depression and history of alcohol use best differentiated youth engaging in NSSI with low versus high risk for suicidal ideation and attempts. This simple algorithm is presented as a clinical screening tool that might aid medical providers in determining which youth would benefit from more intensive assessment and intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • United States
  • Young Adult