Year: 2016 Source: Journal of Youth and Adolescence.(2016).45(8):1527-1545. DOI:10.1007/s10964-016-0519-x SIEC No: 20160288

Adverse childhood experiences, comprised of forms of maltreatment and certain dysfunctional household environments, can affect the development of a child in a variety of different ways. This multitude of developmental changes may subsequently produce compounding harmful effects on the childÕs life and increase acutely maladaptive outcomes, including adolescent suicidal behavior. This study uses data collected from 2007 to 2012 for 64,329 Florida Department of Juvenile Justice youth (21.67 % female, 42.88 % African American, and 15.37 % Hispanic) to examine the direct and indirect effects of adverse childhood experiences on suicide attempts. Using a generalized structural equation model, the effects of adverse childhood experience scores are estimated on suicidal behavior through pathways of certain aspects of a childÕs personality development (aggression and impulsivity), as well as adolescent problem behaviors (school difficulties and substance abuse). The results show that a large proportion of the relationship between childhood adversity and suicide is mediated by the aforementioned individual characteristics, specifically through the youthÕs maladaptive personality development. These results suggest that, if identified early enough, the developmental issues for these youth could potentially be addressed in order to thwart potential suicidal behavior.