In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established that 6.3% of high school students have attempted suicide in the preceding year. Given the lethal consequences of suicide attempts, determining risk factors among adolescents becomes especially important. Generally speaking, psychiatric disorders and substantial psychosocial impairments are known to be associated with suicide attempts. However, previous research attempting to identify specific risk factors in adolescents is somewhat ambiguous. Nonetheless, one thing is consistent. When measuring the risk of an adolescent committing suicide, information must come from a variety of sources and perspectives. These sources may include but are not limited to a clinical interview with the adolescent, information provided by the parent or guardian, standardized assessments and previous psychiatric documents from the individual.
Furthermore, past research has shown that self report intruments have yielded clinically significant results. Specifically, the Beck Hopelessness Scale, Suicide Probability Scale and Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Junior High Version were particularly sensitive in measuring risk factors and predicting suicide attempts over a six month period. Despite the sensitivity of these self report measures, one issue remains. Adolescent males commit suicide 3.6 times more than their female counterpoarts. However, males report having suicidal thoughts and report that they consider commiting suicide less frequently than females do. Therefore, there is an obvious gap between the suicidal thoughts that adolescent males report, and actual suicide attempts. Gender therefore becomes a moderator of the value of self reported suicidal ideation amongst adolescents.
Given the inconsistencies in past research that looked at the predictive vailidy of self-reported suicide ideation; King, Jiang, Czyz and Kerr conducted a study among hospitalized and acutely suicidal male and female adolescents. The study aimed to examine the predictive validity of self-reported suicidal ideation and to measure the number of suicide attempts over the course of a one year period. Previous research did not control for number of suicide attempts as a factor in the predictive validity of self report measures, therefore, this was controlled for in the present study. Research has found that hospitalized adolescents with high SIQ-JR scores are associated with an increased prospect of suicide attempts for up to several months after the asessement. Therefore, self report suicidal ideation was measured using the SIQ-JR. The SIQ-JR is a 15 item self report questionnaire that measures suicidal thoughts on a 7 point scale.
The study consisted of 354 adolescents who had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to an acute suicide risk. Females comprised 73% of the sample. Additionaly, 85% of the sample was caucasion. The mean age was 15.6 years. Psychiatric diagnoses varied by individual. However, 87.9% met...