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Abstract

Using data from all waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we investigated the short-term and long-term impact of an adolescent friend's suicide on an adolescent's depression and suicidality. Results suggest that a friend's suicide is associated with heightened suicide thoughts and attempts and greater depression during the first year after loss. Six years later, analyses show concurrent behaviors most relevant to explain suicidality fluctuations. Findings suggest the importance of therapeutic availability, especially during the first year, for those losing a friend to suicide.
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Assessing the Effects of Peer Suicide on Youth Suicide
Feigelman, William, PHD;Gorman, Bernard S, PHD
Suicide & Life - Threatening Behavior; Apr 2008; 38, 2; Sociological Abstracts
pg. 181
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
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... Another reason for missing moderating effects might refer to further aspects of the quality of exposure events, namely, the recency and intensity or personal appraisal-the latter of which could partly depend on the nature of the relationship. It has been noted that the risk for suicidal behaviour might be elevated only within the first year after exposure (Feigelman & Gorman, 2008) or especially within this time period (Abrutyn & Mueller, 2014;Chan et al., 2018). While the intensity of the exposure event has not been measured in the present study, we could not consider the recency of events, because recent exposure events had been rare and some participants could not recall the dates of events. ...
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Theories suggest that adolescents exposed to suicide attempts and/or deaths are at higher risk of attempting suicide, themselves. However, research findings have been mixed, with most studies not accounting for psychiatric vulnerability. We examined past psychiatric diagnosis as a moderator of the association between lifetime exposure to suicide attempts and/or deaths and adolescents’ suicide attempts. Adolescents (N = 518; 60% female; 45% White), ages 12–21, reported on prior suicide ideation and attempts, and mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders at baseline. Suicide attempts since baseline and exposure to suicidal behaviors were assessed 4–6 years later. Lifetime exposure to family suicide attempts and/or suicide deaths, but not to suicidal behaviors of peers/friends or others, was associated with a suicide attempt at follow-up among those with prior psychiatric disorders. Psychologically vulnerable adolescents may require additional support after exposure to suicidal behaviors of a family member to reduce their risk of attempting suicide.
... Emotional distress and suicidal behavior have been studied under such disciplines as public health, psychology, and social sciences. In practice, questionnaires or screening instruments are often used to detect emotional distress and suicide behaviors in children and adolescents (Scouller & Smith, 2002;Feigelman & Gorman, 2008). However, many emotionally distressed and suicidal youth are reluctant to seek help, and thus it is difficult to identify them. ...
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