Adolescent Suicidal Ideation Subgroups and their Association with Suicidal Plans and Attempts in Young Adulthood


  • This research is currently supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health (HD047573, HD051746, and MH051361). Support for earlier years of the study also came from multiple sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health (MH00567, MH19734, MH43270, MH59355, MH62989, and MH48165), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA05347), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD027724), the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (MCJ-109572), and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development Among Youth in High-Risk Settings.

Department of Family Social Science, 290 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108; E-mail:


Suicidal ideation during adolescence is quite common. Longitudinal ideation patterns may predict adolescents at greatest risk of progressing to more serious suicidal behaviors. We enumerated suicidal ideation trajectory subgroups and estimated subgroup association with later suicidal plans and attempts using data collected across a 13-year period from 552 Caucasian adolescents. Three subgroups were found: non-ideators (no ideation), decreasers (ideation decreased), and increasers (ideation persisted or increased). Probability of planning a suicide was greatest among increasers (females: .54, males: 51, p < .01). Probability of attempting suicide was greatest among male decreasers (.36, p < .01) and female increasers (.25, p < .01).