Nonsuicidal self-injury as a time-invariant predictor of adolescent suicide ideation and attempts in a diverse community sample.J Consult Clin Psychol. 2012 Oct; 80(5):842-9.JC
Longitudinal data on adolescent self-injury are rare. Little is known regarding the associations between various forms of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors over time, particularly within community samples that are most relevant for prevention efforts. This study examined nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) as a time-invariant, prospective predictor of adolescent suicide ideation, threats or gestures, and attempts over a 2.5-year interval.
A diverse (55% female; 51% non-White) adolescent community sample (n = 399) reported depressive symptoms, frequency of NSSI, suicide ideation, threats or gestures, and attempts in 9th grade (i.e., baseline) and at 4 subsequent time points. Generalized estimating equations and logistic regressions were conducted to reveal the associations between baseline NSSI and the likelihood of each suicidal self-injury outcome postbaseline while controlling for depressive symptoms and related indices of suicidal self-injury as competing predictors.
Baseline NSSI was significantly, prospectively associated with elevated levels of suicide ideation and suicide attempts, but not threats or gestures. Neither gender nor ethnicity moderated results.
Above and beyond established risk factors such as depressive symptoms and previous suicidality, adolescent NSSI may be an especially important factor to assess when determining risk for later suicidality.