Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(4), 807-815. SIEC No: 20230039
Objective Adolescence marks an important time to detect suicide risk, as suicidal ideation often emerges during this developmental period. Death-themed cognitions represent a promising domain of risk factors for suicidal ideation, but they have been understudied among adolescents. To address this knowledge gap, the present study examines the association between adolescents’ attitudes and beliefs about death, hereafter referred to as death conceptualizations, and suicidal ideation. Methods Seventy-four adolescents (12–19 years) completed a self-report measure assessing three types of death conceptualizations: Death Avoidance (i.e., suppression of death-related thoughts), Neutral Acceptance (i.e., belief that death is a natural part of life), and Escape Acceptance (i.e., belief that death is a viable escape from pain). Suicidal ideation was assessed at baseline, as well as 3 and 6 months later. Results At baseline, suicidal adolescents endorsed higher Escape Acceptance and lower Death Avoidance. Suicidal and nonsuicidal adolescents did not differ in their degree of Neutral Acceptance. Death conceptualizations, especially Escape Acceptance, also predicted future suicidal ideation. Conclusions Initial findings suggest that suicidal adolescents are more likely to believe that death is a viable escape from pain and that this death-related cognition is a risk factor for suicidal ideation.