Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (2023). SIEC No: 20230776

Research suggests that exposure to adversity can lead to an increased risk of experiencing suicidal and self-injurious thoughts or behaviours, but few studies have examined whether different patterns of adversity are differentially associated with youth suicide/self-harm. The current study aims to explore the relationship between exposure to adversity across various social domains and youth self-harm and suicidality, using a person centred approach, and examines whether access to social support and a sense of safety across home, peer or school settings buffer the relationship between adversity and self-harm/suicidality. Secondary data analyses were carried out on cross-sectional self-report data collected from 4848 (Mage=15.78, SD = 0.59; 50% female) adolescents who participated in the Irish Planet Youth survey. Latent Class Analyses identified four distinct profiles of adversity; low-adversity (n = 2043, 42%); peer-adversity (n = 972, 20%); parental-adversity (n = 1189, 25%); and multiple-adversity (n = 644, 13%). Findings from logistic moderated regressions indicated that there were significant differences in self-harm and suicidality across the adversity classes. Although parental support and perceived safety at school were negatively associated with suicidality and self-harm outcomes, no significant moderation effects were observed. These findings suggest that youth who experience adversity across multiple social domains are more likely to report suicidal and self-harm thoughts and behaviours, and should be key targets for intervention/prevention efforts. While parental support and school safety may act as significant compensatory factors, further work is needed to identify the social resources that can offset the risk imposed by youth’s adverse experiences.