Year: 2019 Source: Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (2019) 48(9), 1784-1795. SIEC No: 20190693

Adolescent perceived behavioral control (self-efficacy) plays a key role in influencing decision-making processes within the context of suicide prevention programming. Guided by Theory of Planned Behavior, models tested attitudinal and social factors predicting adolescent intentions and actual engagement in suicide prevention behaviors. Participants included 233 racially and ethnically diverse high school students (54% female) in a southwestern U.S. school district. Measures included attitudes, norms, perceived behavioral control, intentions, and behavior over follow-up. Structural equation modeling indicated that perceived behavioral control, rather than intentions, was the direct predictor of behaviors. For adolescents, beliefs about effectively utilizing learned suicide prevention behavior may be more important than intentions. The design of suicide prevention efforts should account for this important influence on adolescent decision-making.