Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 461–467 | Cite as

Stress Accounts for the Association Between ADHD Symptoms and Suicide Ideation When Stress-Reactive Rumination Is High

  • Carlos E. Yeguez
  • Ryan M. Hill
  • Victor Buitron
  • Jeremy W. Pettit
Original Article


ADHD symptoms are significantly associated with suicide ideation. However, the variables that explain this association remain unknown. This study tested a theoretical model in which stress was hypothesized to account for the association between ADHD symptoms and suicide ideation among individuals high, but not low, in ruminative responding to stress. We examined this model in a sample of 432 emerging adults, who were predominantly female (72.5%) and Hispanic (70.6%), with a mean age of 19.73 years. Demographic and clinical (ADHD symptoms, stress, stress-reactive rumination, depressive symptoms) information was collected via self-reported rating scales. ADHD symptoms were significantly and positively associated with stress, stress-reactive rumination, and suicide ideation. As hypothesized, the association between ADHD symptoms and suicide ideation was accounted for by stress, and this effect was strongest at high levels of stress-reactive rumination. Conclusions did not change after controlling for depressive symptoms. These findings shed light on one explanation of the elevated levels of suicide ideation seen in emerging adults with elevated ADHD symptoms: heightened levels of stressful events and a tendency to respond to stress by ruminating. Implications for theory development and prevention efforts are discussed.


ADHD Rumination Stress Suicide ideation 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Dana McMakin for her feedback and assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Carlos E. Yeguez, Ryan M. Hill, Victor Buitron, and Jeremy W. Pettit declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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