Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2016). 37(3), 184-193. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000374 SIEC No: 20231526
Background: Although the protective value of social connectedness is emphasized in suicide prevention programming, little is known about the relationship between connectedness in high-risk runaway and homeless youth (RHY) networks and suicidal ideation. Aims: The study examined how social connectedness, in the form of social network position and network exposures, was associated with suicidal ideation among RHY. Method: Using population-level social network data from 384 RHY, each youth’s network position and exposure to potentially suicidogenic peer attributes were calculated. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine associations between network position (core vs. periphery), peer exposures (e.g., depressed or suicidal peers), and suicidal ideation. Results: In univariable analyses, being in the core of the network and being connected to greater proportions of depressed and suicidal peers increased the likelihood of suicidal ideation. In the final multivariable model, higher exposure to depressed peers remained associated with suicidal ideation, and a marginal effect for network position was observed. Conclusion: The risk of suicidal ideation was linked to depression among peers and to a lesser extent being more integrated into the RHY network. Identifying and treating depression in naturally occurring friendship groups, particularly in the core of the network, represents a promising network-level intervention.