Attachment style, depression and loneliness in adolescent suicide attempters
Attachment style, depression, loneliness and a variety of pychosocial factors were examined in 31 adolescents who had attempted suicide within the past year to determine if depression played a mediating role between an insecure attachment style and suicide attempts. This group was compared to two control groups, clinical and normal, which were matched for age, gender, SES and race. Loneliness was expected to be associated with an insecure attachment style. The mediating hypothesis was examined by regression and logistic regression equations comparing attempters with both control groups. Partial support was obtained for these hypotheses. Attempters were more insecurely attached and more depressed than normals, but not more than clinical controls. Depression was found to mediate the effects of an insecure attachment style on suicide attempts when comparing attempters to normals, but not to clinical controls. Loneliness scores were higher in individuals with an insecure attachment style than those with a secure style in each of the 3 group comparisons. Loneliness predicted depression, but did not predict suicide attempts in any of the comparisons. When comparing adolescent suicide attempters to clinical controls, an insecure attachment appears to be a general risk factor for both suicidality and depression.