Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2019). 40(6), 390–399. SIEC No: 20231499
Background: Homeless youth are a population at risk for suicidal behavior. Despite growing knowledge about risk factors, protective factors against suicidal behavior among this population are still poorly understood. Aims: To explore differences in coping and social support between homeless adolescents who attempted suicide and those who did not. Method: In total, 76 homeless adolescents from eight different shelters provided information about their suicidal behaviors over the previous year and filled out coping and social support questionnaires. Results: Homeless adolescents who had not attempted suicide perceived more social support (tangible assistance and guidance). Conversely, youth who had attempted suicide reported using more nonproductive strategies of coping (tension reduction, keep to self, and self-blame). Tangible assistance and tension reduction were found to be the strongest predictors. Limitations: As most of these youth were not homeless for a long time, care should be taken in generalizing these results to adolescents with longer histories of homelessness. Conclusion: Productive coping does not seem to constitute a sufficient personal resource to protect homeless adolescents from suicide attempts. Nonproductive coping could, however, be considered a serious risk factor. Consequently, promoting homeless youths' ability to find environmental resources, especially tangible assistance, could be the most valuable approach.