Year: 2019 Source: Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior. (2019).49(3), 811-825. SIEC No: 20190677

The severity of anxiety, in general, has been associated with suicide ideation (SI) among youth, but research has yet to examine the specific anxiety symptoms that may contribute to SI among youth. This study examined the severity of specific anxiety symptom clusters (i.e., tense/restless, somatic/autonomic symptoms, humiliation/rejection, performing in public, separation anxiety, perfectionism, and anxious coping) and SI in youth who met diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder.
Participants (N = 87) were treatment‐seeking children and adolescents ages 6–17 (M = 11.1 years, SD = 3.06; 52.9% male) diagnosed with a principal anxiety disorder. Youth and their parents completed measures of youth anxiety symptom severity, depression, and SI.
Hierarchical linear regressions revealed that when anxiety symptom clusters were entered simultaneously, only youth self‐reported (and not parent‐reported) somatic/autonomic symptoms of anxiety significantly predicted SI, after controlling for depression and sex. Importantly, the relationship between somatic/autonomic symptoms of anxiety and SI was stronger than that between depression and SI.
These results suggest that assessing somatic symptoms of anxiety is especially important when quantifying suicide risk among anxiety‐disordered youth.