Vulnerability to Friends’ Suicide Influence: The Moderating Effects of Gender and Adolescent Depression

  • Ruth X. Liu

This paper examines whether severity of depression reduces or intensifies the relationship between friends’ suicide attempt and adolescent's own attempt to commit suicide, and whether there are gender differences in this interrelationship. Using logistic regression and data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents studied at 2 points in time, this study yielded significant findings. First, friends’ suicide attempt and adolescent depression each predicts adolescent's own attempt to commit suicide, and these effects are similar for both boys and girls. Second, highly depressed adolescents are less likely than low- or nondepressed adolescents to attempt suicide when their friends attempt suicide, and this relationship is observed mainly among adolescent boys. Finally, for adolescent girls, depression reduces the relationship between friends’ suicidal attempt and adolescent's own attempt but this effect is not statistically significant. These results are discussed in light of their theoretical importance and policy implications.


suicide attempt adolescent depression friends gender 



This research is based on data from the Add Health project designed by J. Richard Udry (Principal Investigator) and Peter Bearman and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cooperative funding participation by the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; the National Institute of Drug Abuse; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the Office of AIDS Research, NIH; the Office of Behavior and Social Science Research, NIH; the Office of the Director, NIH; the Office of Research on Women's Health, NIH; the Office of Population Affairs, DHHS; the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS; the Office of Minority Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS, the Office of Minority Health, Office of Public Health and Science, DHHS; the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, DHHS; and the National Science Foundation. Persons interested in obtaining data files from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health should contact Jo Jones, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516–3997 (e-mail:


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

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