Dissociation is associated with risk for suicide in adults, but this link is not well studied in adolescents, in spite of their marked suicide risk. This study assessed adolescents’ dissociative experiences in daily life and evaluated the association between dissociative experiences and suicide risk, including the independence of this relationship from related affective and clinical states and demographic characteristics. Clinically referred early adolescents (N = 162; aged 11–13) were assessed via multi-informant clinical interview, questionnaires, and 4-day ecological momentary assessment protocol. Adolescents were classified as being at elevated suicide risk using multi-informant, multi-method reports of suicide risk behavior and/or at elevated proximal risk using the 4-day EMA only. Suicide risk was associated with daily dissociative experiences, and this relationship was independent of daily negative and positive affect and co-occurring borderline personality symptoms. Gender differences emerged, such that the relationship between daily dissociative experiences and suicide risk was only significant in adolescent girls. Overall, findings suggest dissociation may be independently relevant to adolescent suicide risk, above and beyond effects of psychopathology and affective disturbance, and especially in girls. Daily dissociative experiences may help understand and detect suicide risk among early adolescents and warrant further research.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Ecological momentary assessment