Adolescent suicide attempts and adult adjustment
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofDepression and anxiety ; vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 270-276.
Background: Adolescent suicide attempts are disproportionally prevalent and frequently of low severity, raising questions regarding their long-term prognostic implications. In this study, we examined whether adolescent attempts were asso- ciated with impairments related to suicidality, psychopathology, and psychosocial functioning in adulthood (objective 1) and whether these impairments were better accounted for by concurrent adolescent confounders (objective 2). Method: Eight hundred and sixteen adolescents were assessed using interviews and question- naires at four time points from adolescence to adulthood. We examined whether lifetime suicide attempts in adolescence (by T2, mean age 17) predicted adult out- comes (by T4, mean age 30) using linear and logistic regressions in unadjusted models (objective 1) and adjusting for sociodemographic background, adolescent psychopathology, and family risk factors (objective 2). Results: In unadjusted analyses, adolescent suicide attempts predicted poorer adjustment on all outcomes, except those related to social role status. After adjustment, adolescent attempts remained predictive of axis I and II psychopathology (anxiety disorder, antisocial and borderline personality disorder symptoms), global and social adjustment, risky sex, and psychiatric treatment utilization. However, adolescent attempts no longer predicted most adult outcomes, notably suicide attempts and major depressive disorder. Secondary analyses indicated that associations did not differ by sex and attempt characteristics (intent, lethality, recurrence). Conclusions: Adolescent suicide attempters are at high risk of protracted and wide-ranging im- pairments, regardless of the characteristics of their attempt. Although attempts specifically predict (and possibly influence) several outcomes, results suggest that most impairments reflect the confounding contributions of other individual and family problems or vulnerabilites in adolescent attempters.