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, 57 (5), 645-53

Suicidal Ideation in Early to Middle Adolescence: Sex-Specific Trajectories and Predictors

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Suicidal Ideation in Early to Middle Adolescence: Sex-Specific Trajectories and Predictors

Molly Adrian et al. J Child Psychol Psychiatry.

Abstract

Background: The present study examined developmental trajectories of suicidal ideation (SI) and predictors of the course of SI across early to middle adolescence in a sample of 521 children utilizing a prospective longitudinal design.

Method: A baseline assessment including structured interviews and parent- and adolescent-reported measures was conducted at age 11-12 years, with follow-up assessments occurring 6, 12, 18, and 36 months later.

Results: Group-based trajectory analyses revealed three groups of individuals, one group that remained at low ideation scores throughout the time period examined, another group with moderate ideation scores and a minority of children who had fluctuating SI. Sex differences in SI trajectories were revealed with the highest SI scores at age 12 for boys. For boys in this group, high ideation followed by a steady decline in the slope over time. SI in girls demonstrated a quadratic function increasing from age 12 to 13, and decreasing from age 14 to 15. Factors that predicted SI group membership were identified. Depression, externalizing problems, family and friend support discriminated SI trajectories for both boys and girls. History of a suicide attempt was associated with moderate- and high-declining ideation groups for boys, and moderate and high ideation group for girls.

Conclusions: Assessment of SI in adolescents should occur in early adolescents, particularly around the time of school transitions.

Keywords: Suicidal ideation; adolescence; suicide risk.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Trajectories of high suicidal ideation risk from ages 12 to 15 for girls
Figure 2
Figure 2
Trajectories of high suicidal ideation risk from ages 12 to 15 for boys

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