Peer Connectedness and Pre-Existing Social Reward Processing Predicts U.S. Adolescent Girls' Suicidal Ideation During COVID-19

J Res Adolesc. 2021 Sep;31(3):703-716. doi: 10.1111/jora.12652.


There is major concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent suicidal ideation (SI) and peer relationships. We investigated (1) rates of SI and (2) the extent to which peer connectedness and pre-existing neural activation to social reward predicted SI during the initial stay-at-home orders of the pandemic (April-May 2020) in a longitudinal sample of adolescent girls (N = 93; Mage = 15.06; 69% White non-Hispanic). Daily diary and fMRI methods were used to assess peer connectedness and neural activation to social reward, respectively. Nearly 40% of girls endorsed SI during the initial stay-at-home orders. Greater peer connectedness and neural responsivity to anticipated social reward were associated with a reduced odds of SI during the pandemic among girls.

Keywords: COVID-19; neural processes; suicidal ideation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Reward
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Suicidal Ideation*