Age-varying associations between attempts to change weight and suicidal ideation among adolescents in the United States

Anna K. Hochgraf, Jerica M. Berge, Stephanie T. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The goal of this study was to inform theory and suicide prevention efforts by examining how the link between attempts to change weight and suicidal ideation varies across adolescence, when it is strongest, and whether there are sex differences. Methods: Data were from 13,518 youth ages 14–18 years who participated in the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative study of U.S. high school students. Time-varying effect modeling was used to estimate associations between attempts to change weight and suicidal ideation as continuous functions of age and to test sex differences in these links. Results: The link between attempts to lose weight and suicidal ideation was positive and significant between ages 14.0–17.3 years, with the strongest association at age 15.0 (OR = 2.07). There were no sex differences in this age-varying association. The association between attempts to gain weight and suicidal ideation was positive and age-varying for girls, with the strongest association at age 17.2 years (OR = 2.79). This association was not significant for boys at any age. Conclusions: Girls and boys who are trying to lose weight and girls who are trying to gain weight may be at elevated risk for suicidal ideation between ages 14 and 18 years. Findings illuminate patterns of association during adolescence and have implications for suicide prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107946
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume182
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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