Social connectedness and one-year trajectories among suicidal adolescents following psychiatric hospitalization

Ewa K Czyz, Zhuqing Liu, Cheryl A King
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 2012, 41 (2): 214-26
This study examined the extent to which posthospitalization change in connectedness with family, peers, and nonfamily adults predicted suicide attempts, severity of suicidal ideation, and depressive symptoms across a 12-month follow-up period among inpatient suicidal adolescents. Participants were 338 inpatient suicidal adolescents, ages 13 to 17, who were assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months posthospitalization. General liner models were fitted for depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation outcomes, and logistic regression was used for the dichotomous suicide attempt outcome. The moderating effects of gender and multiple attempt history were examined. Adolescents who reported greater improvements in peer connectedness were half as likely to attempt suicide during the 12-month period. Improved peer connectedness was also associated with less severe depressive symptoms for all adolescents and with less severe suicidal ideation for female individuals, but only at the 3-month assessment time point. Improved family connectedness was related to less severe depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation across the entire year; for suicidal ideation, this protective effect was limited to nonmultiple suicide attempters. Change in connectedness with nonfamily adults was not a significant predictor of any outcome when changes in family and peer connectedness were taken into account. These results pointing to improved posthospitalization connectedness being linked to improved outcomes following hospitalization have important treatment and prevention implications given inpatient suicidal adolescents' vulnerability to suicidal behavior.

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