Year: 2020 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2020). 24(3), 327-341. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2019.1635931 SIEC No: 20200931

Although a history of a suicide attempt is the strongest predictor of future suicide attempts, not all adolescents who make an attempt engage in repetitive suicidal behavior. The present study sought to determine whether certain characteristics of a first suicide attempt (e.g., age of first attempt, method of attempt used, intent seriousness, medical lethality, and receipt of treatment after attempt) can distinguish between adolescents who make single versus multiple suicide attempts. Adolescents (N = 95) who were psychiatrically hospitalized and their guardian completed a diagnostic interview to gather information on all lifetime suicide attempts. A multivariate hierarchical logistic regression was conducted, predicting single attempt versus multiple attempt status. Of the first-attempt characteristics examined, only age of first attempt, OR = 0.33, 95% CI [0.17-0.63], p = .001, and receipt of treatment following attempt, OR = 0.28, 95% CI [0.09-0.88], p = .028, significantly distinguished SA vs. MA status, even after controlling for current age and depression at the time of first attempt. Female and White participants were overrepresented in this sample, which limits generalization to more heterogenous and diverse samples. The cross-sectional nature of data introduces the potential for retrospective recall bias. Younger age of first attempt and lack of receipt of mental health treatment following a first attempt were associated with multiple attempt status. These findings highlight the importance of early mental health screening, parental psychoeducation, and linkage to mental health care after a suicide attempt.