Social Stress, Problem-Solving Deficits Contribute to Suicide Risk for Teen Girls

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

Teen girls who have greater difficulty effectively solving interpersonal problems when they experience social stress and those who experience more interpersonal stress in their lives are at greater risk of suicidal behavior suggests research published by the American Psychological Association.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens, and rates of suicidal behavior are particularly high among girls. Previous research has found that interpersonal stressors—such as conflict with peers, friends and family—are related to suicidal behavior. Some theories of suicidal behavior suggest that poor social problem-solving skills may contribute to the link, possibly because teens with poorer social problem-solving skills are more likely to see suicide as a viable solution to their distress when they feel they’ve exhausted other options.

The current study aimed to test these associations by considering both experimentally simulated and real-world measures of social stress. The research, “Social Problem-Solving and Suicidal Behavior in Adolescent Girls: A Prospective Examination of Proximal and Distal Social Stress-Related Risk Factors,” was published online May 25 in the Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science.

Participants were 185 girls ages 12 to 17 who had experienced some mental health concerns in the past two years.

“The findings provide empirical support for cognitive and behavioral theories of suicide that suggest that deficits in abilities to effectively manage and solve interpersonal problems may be related to suicidal behavior,” said study lead author Olivia Pollak, MA, of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Clinically, this is notable, as problem-solving features prominently in several treatments for suicidal or self-harming behaviors.”

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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