Original Paper

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 359-367

Suicidal Risk in Adolescent Residential Treatment: Being Female Is More Important Than a Depression Diagnosis

  • Danice L. BrownAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Email author 
  • , Jeremy D. JewellAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • , Amy L. StevensAffiliated withFather Flanagan’s Boys Home, National Research Institute
  • , Jessica D. CrawfordAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • , Ronald ThompsonAffiliated withFather Flanagan’s Boys Home, National Research Institute

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Abstract

We investigated the relationship between gender and clinician diagnosis of a depressive disorder at intake on variables reflecting depression among adolescents in residential treatment. It was hypothesized that females diagnosed with a depressive disorder would have the highest scores on measures of suicide risk, the number of symptoms of a major depressive episode, suicidal behavior, and suicidal ideation. Results indicated partial support for the predicted comparisons. Females diagnosed with a depressive disorder scored significantly higher on measures of depressive symptom count and suicidal ideation. Surprisingly, females without a diagnosis of a depressive disorder had higher suicide risk scores than the remaining groups. The results of this study highlight the importance of assessment and treatment of internalizing disorders in youth entering residential programs, particularly female adolescents.

Keywords

Suicide Adolescents Psychopathology Gender Residential treatment