Differentiating Between Youth with a History of Suicidal Thoughts, Plans, and Attempts

Alannah Shelby Rivers, Payne Winston-Lindeboom, Tita Atte, Perri Rosen, Matt Wintersteen, Nicole Kathleen Watkins, Allen Tien, Guy Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Limited research has examined factors distinguishing between patterns of adolescent suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The current study examined demographic, school, family, and mental health differences across patterns identified by Romanelli and colleagues (2022): history of thoughts only, plans with thoughts, attempt with thoughts and/or plans, and attempt without thoughts. The current study includes 4,233 students (Mage = 14.65 years, SD = 2.06) with a history of suicide risk referred to school Student Assistance Program teams. The sample was approximately 60.7% female, 59.8% White (16.0% Black, 15.4% multiracial, 8.8% other), and 14.4% Hispanic. Results indicated that the “attempt without thoughts” group was small with no differentiating characteristics. However, membership in the other three groups was predicted by demographic, school, family, and mental health factors. These results support the importance of examining suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts as distinct indicators and assessing key biopsychosocial factors. Further research could improve how behavioral health systems identify at risk youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-636
Number of pages10
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this