Suicidal ideation and behaviors among ninth graders
Wetherington, Jaclyn Michelle
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Given the prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviors among adolescents, the current study was designed to examine whether different risk factors were associated with suicidal ideation and behaviors, experiencing multiple risk factors increased risk for suicidality, and early risk factors could be identified prior to ninth grade that increase suicidality in ninth grade. Using data gathered annually from Healthy Teens Longitudinal Study, this study investigated the influence of several individual, family, and school-level variables on suicidal ideation and behaviors in ninth grade. Although some gender differences were found, univariate analyses revealed that problem behaviors, parent involvement, school relationships, and life satisfaction scores were strong predictors of suicidality. Based upon results of the univariate analyses, a four-construct risk factor index (RFI) was created to examine the impact of experiencing multiple risk factors on self-reported suicidality. When RFI score, sadness, and gender were entered into multiple logistic regression models, gender was no longer a significant predictor of either suicidal ideation or behaviors. Latent growth mixture modeling was used to study whether student trajectory varied significantly from sixth to ninth grade as a function of self-reported risk factors. Significant findings and practical implications are discussed within Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) Ecological Model of human development.