Relationship between Attachment-Felt Security and History of Suicidal Behaviours in Clinical Adolescents
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OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to test the hypothesis that adolescents who perceive their attachment figures as unavailable (low felt security) would be overrepresented in the case group of adolescents with a history of suicidal behaviours. METHOD: One hundred and eighty-seven adolescents in psychiatric treatment participated in this retrospective case-comparison study of attachment-felt security and history of suicidal behaviours. All participants completed the following measures: Adolescent Attachment Questionnaire, Perceived Social Support From Friends Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Beck Hopelessness Scale, the depression syndrome scale of the Youth Self Report, and Adam's Suicidal Ideation and Behavior protocol. RESULTS: The comparison group comprised 101 adolescents who had never experienced suicidal ideation or behaviour; the case group included 86 adolescents with a history of suicidal behaviour. We found that perceived unavailability and high levels of depressive symptomatology were predictive of suicidal behaviours. We also found a strong association between being older and having high levels of angry distress in adolescents with a history of suicidal behaviours. CONCLUSION: The advantage of including an assessment of parent-adolescent attachment with clinical adolescents is noted.
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