Year: 2016 Source: Journal of Research on Adolescence.(2015).25(1):20-27. DOI:10.1111/jora.12098 SIEC No: 20160119

Youth suicide is a leading cause of mortality. Greater still is the prevalence of suicidal behavior and ideation. In this study with 813 secondary school students, we explored youth engagement in structured extracurricular activities as a possible protective factor for suicidal ideation. Personally meaningful youth engagement significantly moderated the relationships between depressive symptoms, risk behaviors, self-esteem, and social support in the prediction of suicidal ideation. Specifically, the more meaning found in engagement, the less likely youth were to report suicidal thoughts in spite of risk factors. Acknowledging limitations, a focus on engaging youth in well-selected activities of interest might represent a nonstigmatizing approach to universal prevention. Further research into the mechanisms of such an approach is warranted.