The trajectory of suicidal ideation across early adolescence may inform the timing of suicide prevention program implementation. This study aimed to identify developmental trajectories of suicidal ideation among an urban cohort of community-residing African Americans (AA) longitudinally followed from middle school through early adulthood (ages 11-19 years). Subtypes based on the developmental course of suicidal ideation from late childhood through mid-adolescence were identified using longitudinal latent class analysis (LLCA) with 581 AA adolescents (52.7% male; 71.1% free or reduced school meals). The developmental trajectories of suicidal ideation were then used to predict suicide attempts in young adulthood. Our LLCA indicated two subtypes (i.e., ideators and nonideators), with 8% of the sample in the ideator class. This trajectory class shows a peak of suicidal ideation in seventh grade and a steady decline in ideation in subsequent grades. Additionally, suicidal ideation trajectories significantly predicted suicide attempt. Results of these analyses suggest the need for suicide prevention approaches prior to high school for AA youth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health