Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(2), 247-254. SIEC No: 20230070
Objective Suicide is a leading cause of death in early adolescents (i.e., children ages 11–14), underscoring the need for a more complex understanding of suicidality in youth. Syndemics framework posits that the overlap of multiple maladaptive behaviors (or risk factors) produces worse health outcomes compared to each behavior alone. The use of this framework in preventing suicide necessitates that identification of developmental risk factors that occur in tandem to suicide (e.g., disordered eating behaviors and substance use) may be important for intervening on those at greatest risk of suicide. Method The present study uses latent class analysis (LCA) to evaluate the relationship between suicidality and disordered eating behaviors in early adolescence, and associations with other developmental risk factors in an epidemiological sample of middle school students (N = 3,811). Results Lifetime prevalence ranged from 6.8% to 18.2% for suicidality, and 5.3%–48.7% for disordered eating behavior. Our final model identified six independent classes, and each class had differential associations with several additional developmental risk factors. Conclusion By pinpointing specific classes of individuals who may be at risk for multiple developmental risk factors, our results have important implications for public health intervention and prevention efforts for a wide range of adolescent risk behaviors, including suicidality.