Extensive literature documents that adverse childhood experiences increase risk for non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide behaviors among adolescents. However, few studies have examined patterns of co-occurring family based adversities, whether distinct patterns of adversity are differentially associated with NSSI and suicide behaviors, and if social support can offset the impact of adversity for these behaviors. This study used a statewide school-based sample that was 50.1% female, 71% non-Hispanic White, and evenly divided by grade (9th grade N = 39,682; 11th grade N = 33,966). Latent class analysis identified three mutually exclusive, homogeneous subgroups of co-occurring familial adversities; low or no family based adversity, parental dysfunction but low maltreatment, and parental dysfunction plus maltreatment. The relationships between membership in the identified subgroups and past year NSSI, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt were assessed separately for 9th graders (average age = 14) and 11th graders (average age = 17). Although membership in the parent dysfunction plus maltreatment class was associated with the highest odds of NSSI, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt, membership in either class of familial adversity elevated risk for these behaviors compared to membership in the low or no adversity class. Whether the protective effects of perceived peer and teacher social support moderated these associations and varied across age groups was also explored. The findings suggest that peer and teacher social support can promote positive outcomes even for youth living in stressful family conditions and that the protective effects of social support increase as the number of sources of support expands.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
MF conceived of the study, MF and TG performed statistical analysis and drafted the paper, and TG, AG, CM, and BM participated in the interpretation of the data and helped draft the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The dataset used for the current study is available upon request from the Minnesota Department of Health through the following website: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5250891/MSS-Data-Request-Form-2019.
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- Adverse childhood experiences
- School-based social support
- suicide behaviors