Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Attempts: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Clinical Implications


Address reprint requests and correspondence to Peter M. Lewinsohn, Ph.D., Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Blvd., Eugene, OR 97403–1983.


In this article we summarize findings from our program of research (the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project) as they pertain to the suicidal behavior of older (14–18-year-old) adolescents. Specifically, we (a) present information regarding the epidemiology of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (e.g., prevalence, incidence, onset age, methods, severity); (b) describe the psychosocial characteristics associated with past and future suicide attempts, in comparison to depression; (c) discuss issues relevant to assessment and screening, including our development of a new assessment instrument, the Life Attitudes Schedule; (d) share recommendations gained from our experience in providing treatment for depressed adolescents, approximately 40% of whom had made a suicide attempt; and (e) identify gaps in current knowledge for which more research is needed.