Mother-daughter interpersonal processes underlying the association between child maltreatment and adolescent suicide ideation
Handley, E.D., Adams, T.R. Manly, J.T., Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S.L.
The aim of the present study was to investigate whether mother‐daughter relationship quality and mother‐daughter conflict represent mechanisms underlying the association between child maltreatment and adolescent passive or active suicide ideation.
The sample included 164 socioeconomically disadvantaged depressed adolescent girls and their mothers (adolescents: mean age = 14.00 years; 66.3% African‐American, 21.3% white, 14.0% Latina). Structural equation modeling was used to test three simultaneous and distinct mediating pathways linking child maltreatment to adolescent suicide ideation: (1) mother‐daughter relationship quality, (2) mother‐daughter conflict, and 3) adolescent depressive symptoms.
Consistent with the interpersonal‐psychological theory of suicide (Joiner, Why people die by suicide, 2005, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA), both mother‐daughter relationship quality and mother‐daughter conflict mediated the effect of child maltreatment on adolescent suicide ideation, over and above the significant depressive symptoms mediational pathway.
These findings advance our understanding of why individuals who experienced child maltreatment are at risk for suicide ideation and highlight the importance of relationship‐based interventions for these vulnerable youths.