Although theoretical conceptualizations of suicide hold that passive and active suicidal ideation are etiologically distinct, existing research observing this distinction is modest, with most prior studies focusing exclusively on active ideation. Understanding processes associated with passive ideation is clinically important insofar as passive ideation may precede active ideation, and thus serve as an earlier intervention target prior to potential onset of suicidal behavior. We aimed to evaluate intrapersonal and interpersonal vulnerability and resilience factors for passive ideation and differentiating passive from active ideation.
Left-behind adolescents in rural China (n = 371) were assessed for passive and active ideation, depressive symptoms, rumination, grit, peer support, and peer victimization.
Overall, 15.9% of the sample endorsed passive ideation without active ideation, and 17.8% endorsed active ideation. In multivariate analyses, rumination and grit differentiated left-behind children with passive ideation from those with no ideation. Depressive symptom severity predicted active ideation among adolescents with passive ideation.
The current findings suggest that rumination and grit may characterize passive ideation. Although passive and active ideation may differ modestly in vulnerability and resilience factors, depressive symptoms may be important to monitor among those with passive ideation and have not yet experience active ideation.