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      Adolescent social networks matter for suicidal trajectories: disparities across race/ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status

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          Abstract

          Background

          Examining social networks, characterized by interpersonal interactions across family, peer, school, and neighborhoods, offer alternative explanations to suicidal behaviors and shape effective suicide prevention. This study examines adolescent social networks predicting suicide ideation and attempt trajectories transitioning to adulthood, while revealing differences across racial/ethnic, sex, sexual identity, and socioeconomic status.

          Methods

          Participants included 9421 high school students ( M age = 15.30 years; 54.58% females, baseline) from Waves I–IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, 1994–2008. Latent class growth analyses were conducted to identify suicide ideation and attempt trajectories. Multivariate multinomial logistic regressions examined the relationships between social network characteristics during adolescence and suicidal trajectories. Interaction terms between social networks and sociodemographic characteristics were included to test moderation effects.

          Results

          Three suicidal ideation trajectories ( low-stable, high-decreasing, moderate-decreasing-increasing) and two suicide attempt trajectories ( low-stable, moderate-decreasing) were identified. Greater family cohesion significantly reduced the probability of belonging to high-decreasing (Trajectory 2) and moderate-decreasing-increasing (Trajectory 3) suicidal ideation trajectories, and moderate-decreasing (Trajectory 2) suicide attempt trajectory. Race/ethnicity, sex, and sexual identity significantly moderated the associations between social networks (household size, peer network density, family cohesion, peer support, neighborhood support) and suicidal trajectories.

          Conclusions

          Social networks during adolescence influenced the odds of belonging to distinct suicidal trajectories. Family cohesion protected youth from being in high-risk developmental courses of suicidal behaviors. Social networks, especially quality of interactions, may improve detecting adolescents and young adults at-risk for suicide behaviors. Network-based interventions are key to prevent suicidal behaviors over time and suicide intervention programming.

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          Most cited references65

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Psychol Med
                Psychol Med
                PSM
                Psychological Medicine
                Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK )
                0033-2917
                1469-8978
                November 2022
                03 March 2021
                : 52
                : 15
                : 3677-3688
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Social Work, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis , Indianapolis, IN 46202
                [2 ]School of Social Work, Indiana University-Bloomington , Bloomington, IN 47401
                [3 ]McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, New York University , New York, NY, 10003
                [4 ]Silver School of Social Work, New York University , New York, NY 10003
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Yunyu Xiao, E-mail: yx18@ 123456iu.edu
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0479-1781
                Article
                S0033291721000465
                10.1017/S0033291721000465
                9772914
                33653436
                bd0ad8c2-8170-4318-b5f2-a478befbf4b0
                © The Author(s) 2021

                This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 06 August 2020
                : 26 January 2021
                : 05 February 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 62, Pages: 12
                Categories
                Original Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                adolescence,family cohesion,health disparities,life course,minority,social networks,suicidal ideation,suicidal trajectories,suicide attempt,young adult

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