Rejection by Family and Peers Risky for Troubled Teens

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rejection by Family and Peers Risky for Troubled Teens

*The following is excerpted from an online article from HealthCanal.

A new study of 99 teens hospitalized out of concern about suicide risk found that a high perception of family invalidation --- or lack of acceptance --- predicted future suicide events among boys, and peer invalidation predicted future self harm, such as cutting, among the teens in general.

The study conducted by researchers at Brown University and Butler Hospital suggests that independent of other known risk factors, measuring teens’ sense of rejection by family members or peers can help predict whether they will try to harm themselves or even attempt suicide.

In some cases, as with peers, that sense of rejection could come from being bullied, but it could also be more subtle. In the case of family, for example, a teen who is gay may feel a strong degree of rejection if he or she perceives that parents would either disapprove or be disappointed upon finding out, said study lead author Shirley Yen, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

For the study, which appears online in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Yen and her colleagues followed a group of 99 teens, each admitted to a psychiatric facility because they had tried to kill themselves or presented a serious risk of doing so, for six months of follow-up. Along the way they assessed the teens’ sense of family and peer rejection as well as other demographic and psychiatric data. They also tracked whether the teens (or their parents) reported new suicide attempts or related events by the teen, or whether the teen was engaging in cutting or other forms of self-harm.

After statistically accounting for other known risk factors such as low positive affect or high levels of aggression, Yen found that a moderate to high perception of family invalidation proved a statistically significant predictor of a later suicide event among boys. A strong degree of peer invalidation, meanwhile, predicted engagement in self-harm behaviors in the overall group (boys and girls).

Source: HealthCanal