A Longitudinal Network Analysis of the Interactions of Risk and Protective Factors for Suicidal Potential in Early Adolescents

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306–318
Journal / PublicationJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
Online published5 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


Few studies have applied the “ideation-to-action” theories and the buffering hypothesis of resilience to suicide in early adolescents, and existing research is primarily cross-sectional. This study examined the interactions between risk factors (i.e., thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and hopelessness), protective factors (i.e., resilience, self-efficacy, and subjective happiness), and suicidal potential (i.e., family distress, anxious-impulsive depression, and suicidal ideation or acts) in early adolescents. The participants (N = 1615; 55.6% females;age = 10.93, SD age = 1.14, range: 9–15) who were recruited from four primary and four secondary schools in Hong Kong completed the survey in 2020 and 2021. The contemporaneous networks suggested that perceived burdensomeness and hopelessness were positively associated with suicidal potential. Protective factors were negatively associated with risk factors studied and suicidal potential. The node with the greatest centrality strength was anxious-impulsive depression. The nodes most likely to connect with other constructs were self-efficacy and hopelessness. A temporal network suggested the predictive effect of hopelessness and the protective effect of subjective happiness on future suicidal ideation or acts. Moreover, self-efficacy was found to buffer the impact of hopelessness on future suicidal ideation or acts. These findings highlighted the contribution of hopelessness to suicidal potential among early adolescents and the buffering effects of subjective happiness and self-efficacy.

Research Area(s)

  • Hopelessness, Interpersonal needs, Self-efficacy, Subjective happiness, Suicide