Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 243–258 | Cite as

Youth Engagement and Suicide Risk: Testing a Mediated Model in a Canadian Community Sample

  • Heather L. RameyEmail author
  • Michael A. Busseri
  • Nishad Khanna
  • Youth Net Hamilton
  • Youth Net/Réseau Ado Ottawa
  • Linda Rose-Krasnor
Empirical Research


Suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents in many industrialized countries. We report evidence from a mediation model linking greater youth activity engagement, spanning behavioral and psychological components, with lower suicide risk through five hypothesized intrapersonal and interpersonal mediating factors. Self-report survey data (15% French, 85% English) were gathered from a community sample of 5,015 Canadian adolescents participating in a mental health promotion program. Youth (M age = 15.77, SD = 1.42, 50% female) were from two urban centers in southern Ontario, Canada. Youth engagement (youth’s most important type of activity, frequency of involvement, and psychological engagement), suicide risk predictive factors (self-esteem, current concerns, depressive symptoms, coping ability, and connections with others), and suicide risk (ideation and attempts) were assessed. Consistent with the hypothesized mediation model, enjoyment and stress in youth’s most important activity and various activity types were associated with the various hypothesized suicide risk predictive factors, which in turn were related to suicide risk. Implications for conceptualizations of youth engagement as a multidimensional construct and for suicide risk prevention efforts are discussed.


Youth activity engagement Suicide risk Mediation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather L. Ramey
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael A. Busseri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nishad Khanna
    • 2
  • Youth Net Hamilton
    • 3
  • Youth Net/Réseau Ado Ottawa
    • 2
    • 4
  • Linda Rose-Krasnor
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Youth EngagementTorontoCanada
  3. 3.HamiltonCanada
  4. 4.OttawaCanada

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