School Connectedness and Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

April 27, 2018

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

The role of school connectedness in protecting youth from suicidal thoughts and behaviors is well-documented, but research on this topic is limited by methodological differences. In this meta-analysis, researchers sought to account for measurement and sample variability to examine the consistency of findings across multiple studies.

Using a systematic literature search, researchers identified 16 samples from 19 publications investigating the relationship between school connectedness and suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or both thoughts and attempts among youth in grades 6 to 12. This included five samples of youth at high risk (e.g., youth investigated by child welfare or those living in high-risk communities) and four samples of sexual minority youth (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender).

The researchers found that school connectedness served as a protective factor against suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. This finding was consistent for general, high-risk, and sexual minority samples, even after accounting for variations in geographic region and ethnic and racial representation. The results of this analysis reinforce the importance of targeting school connectedness in suicide prevention efforts.

Marraccini, M. E., & Brier, Z. M. F. (2017). School connectedness and suicidal thoughts and behaviors: A systematic meta-analysis. School Psychology Quarterly, 32(1)5–21.