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24-04-2015 | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2015

Is Adolescent Suicidal Ideation Continuous or Categorical? A Taxometric Analysis

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 8/2015
Auteurs:
Richard T. Liu, Richard N. Jones, Anthony Spirito

Abstract

Despite the strong association between suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior, a relative minority of ideators transition to attempting suicide. Clarifying the latent structure of suicidal ideation has direct implications for theory, as well as suicidal risk assessment and prevention efforts. Taxometric analysis is a statistical technique specifically designed to assess whether a latent construct is taxonic (i.e., categorical) or continuous (i.e., dimensional) in nature. Although this statistical approach has been increasingly used over the past decade to elucidate the latent structure of various forms of psychopathology and related risk factors, there are no taxometric studies to date of suicidal ideation. The aim of the current project is to apply taxometric methods to a sample of clinically depressed, treatment-seeking adolescents (n = 334). Current suicidal ideation was measured using the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Jr., (SIQ-Jr.). The results of two mathematically non-redundant taxometric approaches (i.e., MAXEIG and L-Mode) are consistent with a continuous latent structure for suicidal ideation. The current findings suggest that suicidal ideation in depressed adolescents is dimensional. The implication of these findings for research, theory, and suicidal risk assessment strategies are discussed.

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