Fearlessness about death predicts adolescent suicide attempt: A preliminary analysis

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6 Scopus citations


Objective: Several theories of suicide suggest that people will only attempt suicide if they have both the desire to die and the capability for suicide. Fearlessness about death is a key component of capability for suicide. There is little information in the literature about the prospective relationship between fearlessness about death and suicide attempt in adolescents. Method: We obtained baseline fearlessness about death from adolescents (N = 122; ages 12–18; 80% girls; 82% Caucasian) who received intensive outpatient treatment for active suicidal ideation and/or a recent attempt. We tested if fearlessness about death at treatment entry predicted an attempt (n = 14) between entry and six-month follow-up after discharge from the program. Results: Fearlessness about death significantly predicted the presence of an attempt between treatment entry and six-month follow-up after controlling for common covariates (Quade F = 2.15, p <.02). Conclusions: In a preliminary analysis of a group of suicidal adolescents, fearlessness about death was a significant independent predictor of attempt between treatment entry and six months post-discharge, even when controlling for other commonly cited risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1295
Number of pages8
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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