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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • China;
  • peer relationships;
  • suicide attempts;
  • suicide ideation

Abstract

Background  Suicide is a global health concern. Therefore, studying suicide behaviour and identifying the early roots of suicide are critical. To address these issues, the present study examined (i) the association between peer relationships and suicide ideation and attempts among Chinese adolescents; and (ii) whether such associations were moderated or mediated by feeling of loneliness. We hypothesized that problems in peer relationships were positively associated with suicide ideation and attempts, and that feeling of loneliness would moderate and mediate such associations.

Methods  The sample included 8778 Chinese adolescents from a large survey. Measures of peer relationships, suicide ideation and attempts, and feeling of loneliness were obtained through adolescents' self-reports.

Results  Results from multivariate logistic regressions suggested that specific problems in peer relationships, such as lack of peer association and being victimized by bullying, were significantly related to suicide ideation and attempts. In addition, the moderating effects of feeling of loneliness on the association between peer relationships and suicide ideation and attempts were found. Finally, some gender effects were also found.

Conclusions  The present study provided strong evidence that suicide ideation and attempts were serious problems among adolescents in China, to which peer relationships played an important role. Further, feeling of loneliness acted as a moderator affecting the association between peer relationships and suicide ideation and attempts. Finally, there were some gender differences that have important implications.