The current study examined dimensions of perfectionism, stress, hopelessness, and suicidality in a sample of adolescent psychiatric patients diagnosed with depression. This study evaluated the unique contribution of perfectionism in predicting suicidality after considering other predictors (i.e., hopelessness, depression) and it also examined the diathesis-stress model of perfectionism and suicide. A sample of 55 adolescents (41 females, mean age = 15.53, 25.5 % ethnic/racial minorities) who were psychiatric patients completed measures including the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale, subjective and objective indices of life stress, daily hassles, depression, hopelessness, suicide ideation, prior attempts and suicide potential. In addition, other informants (i.e., adolescents’ parents) completed a diagnostic interview and an interview assessing major stressful experiences. Socially prescribed perfectionism (i.e., the perception that others require perfection of oneself) predicted concurrent levels of suicide potential and this association with suicide potential held even after controlling for the variances accounted for by depression and hopelessness. Hierarchical regression analyses provided partial support for the diathesis-stress model, that is, socially prescribed perfectionism interacted with daily hassles to predict concurrent suicide potential even after controlling for depression, hopelessness, and prior suicide attempt. Together, these findings suggest that socially prescribed perfectionism acts as a vulnerability factor that is predictive of suicide potential or risk among clinically depressed adolescents.
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For a few adolescent participants, parent interviews were not conducted (e.g., emancipated minor, parent who did not speak English).
We re-ran analyses using the striving and self-critical subscales of SOP (O’Connor et al. 2009), and found that while SOP-critical correlated significantly with suicide potential measured by CASPI (r = 0.27, p < 0.05), SOP-striving was not significantly correlated with either suicide ideation or potential. Furthermore, neither SOP-critical nor SOP-striving emerged as a significant predictor of suicide ideation or potential while controlling for SPP, depression, and hopelessness using multiple regression analyses. Similarly, no significant interaction between either subscale of SOP and stress (e.g., major stress, daily hassle) was found with either suicide ideation or suicide potential as the outcome variable, while controlling for depression, hopelessness, and prior suicide attempt. Due to non-significant findings and space limitation, findings for the two subscales of SOP were not reported.
We examined the interaction between perfectionism (SOP, SPP) and major stress using either subjective or objective measures, with either suicide ideation or suicide potential as the outcome variable. No significant interaction was found. These non-significant findings were not reported due to space limitation.
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All authors declare no conflicts of interest.
The current study was conducted with the informed parental consent and adolescent assent. This project was approved by the University of British Columbia Behavioral Research Ethics Board and the BC Research Institute for Children & Women’s Health Review Committee.
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Hewitt, P.L., Caelian, C.F., Chen, C. et al. Perfectionism, Stress, Daily Hassles, Hopelessness, and Suicide Potential in Depressed Psychiatric Adolescents. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 36, 663–674 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-014-9427-0