Adolescent Suicidal Trajectories through Young Adulthood: Prospective Assessment of Religiosity and Psychosocial Factors among a Population-Based Sample in the United States


  • Support for this research was provided by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Early Career Grant, Central Michigan University. This research uses data from Add Health, a project originally designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by a grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 ( No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis. I am also grateful to other anonymous reviewers of this paper. We also wish to thank all anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for their thoughtful comments and insightful reviews.

Address correspondence to Stephen Nkansah-Amankra, 2209 College of Health Professions Building, School of Health Sciences, Community Health Program, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859; E-mail:


The main objective was to identify distinct patterns of suicidal behaviors over the life course from adolescence to young adulthood and to determine influences of religiosity and other contextual factors on subgroup membership. Semiparametric growth mixture models were used to identify distinct clusters of suicide ideation and suicide attempt trajectories, and generalized estimating equations were used to assess individual and contextual characteristics predicting suicidal behaviors in adolescence and in young adulthood. Distinct trajectories of suicide ideation and suicide attempt were identified for the total sample and for the gender groups. Results showed marked gender differences in the trajectory of suicide ideation and attempt patterns. Religiosity effects on suicidality were prominent in adolescence but not in young adulthood. Analysis showed that an important window of opportunity for preventing the escalation of suicidality exists during the early adolescent period, an opportunity that should be emphasized in interventions on adolescence suicide prevention.