Suicidal adolescents after hospitalization: parent and family impacts on treatment follow-through

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997 Jan;36(1):85-93. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199701000-00021.


Objective: To help determine optimal strategies for treating suicidal adolescents, the authors studied family predictors of compliance with recommended psychotropic medication monitoring, individual therapy, and parent guidance/family therapy sessions.

Method: Sixty-six hospitalized, suicidal adolescents participated in a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and depression/suicidality assessment. Family/parental assessment measures were the Family Assessment Device, Social Adjustment Inventory for Children and Adolescents (parent-adolescent subscales), Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, and Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report. Follow-up evaluation, 6 months posthospitalization, consisted of structured telephone interviews assessing treatment follow-through.

Results: Compliance with recommended medication follow-up (66.7%) and individual therapy (50.8%) was better than compliance with parent guidance/family therapy (33.3%) sessions. The most dysfunctional families and those with the least involved/affectionate father-adolescent relationships had the poorest follow-through with parent guidance/family therapy. Mothers' depressive and paranoid symptoms were linked with less adolescent individual therapy and family therapy follow-through. Mothers' hostility was associated with less medication follow-up.

Conclusions: Follow-through was best for medication and individual therapy. Multiple family/parental predictors of poor follow-through suggest the need for alternative or supplemental treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aftercare*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Suicide / prevention & control*