Specificity of Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality in a Juvenile Delinquent Population

  • Christianne L. Esposito
  • George A. ClumEmail author


Research which has related scores on the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) to suicidality have generally neglected to examine the possibility that specific depressive factors within the CDI may be more predictive of suicidality than the full scale score. Knowledge of such factors would help to explain the relationship between depression and suicidality and improve the prediction of suicidal behavior. The current study examined the relationship of depressive factors to suicidality in a sample of 200 incarcerated juvenile delinquents. The published factor structure for the CDI and one derived from the delinquent population were compared. Results revealed two factors from the derived solution, hopelessness and low self-esteem, to be more powerful predictors of suicidal ideation than the full-scale CDI score. These results suggest that symptoms such as low self-esteem and hopelessness may be responsible for the well-documented relationship between depression and suicidality. Furthermore, it appears that the prediction of suicidality may be improved by examining specific depressive factors in suicide research as opposed to full-scale scores from depression inventories such as the CDI.

depression suicide Children's Depression Inventory juvenile delinquents 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg

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