Longitudinal associations among dimensional symptoms of depression and anxiety and first onset suicidal ideation in adolescents

Allison V. Metts, Aileen M. Echiverri-Cohen, Julia S. Yarrington, Richard E. Zinbarg, Susan Mineka, Michelle G. Craske*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Depression and anxiety are implicated in suicide risk, but the contributionof specific symptom dimensions within these disorders is not well understood. The present study examined longitudinal associations of transdiagnostic symptoms (General Distress[GD]) and unique symptom dimensions (Anhedonia–Apprehension [AA], Fears, and Narrow Depression [ND]) of depression and anxiety and suicidal ideation (SI). Methods: Data from 551 adolescents oversampled on high neuroticism were examined in a series of discrete-time survival analyses to predict first SI onset over an 8-year period. Results: Results indicate that GD, AA, and ND were independent predictors of increased likelihood of SI onset and remained significant when controlling for effects of fears. Furthermore, AA and GD remained significant when controlling for one another. ND effects reduced by 24% when adjusting for AA and 74% when adjusting for GD. Fears did not significantly predict SI onset. Conclusion: Results suggest that broad levels of distress across depression and anxiety, deficits in positive affect, and elevated negative affect specific to depression increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. As such, attention to broader distress and a lack of pleasure, interest, and motivation—potentially more so than negative affect characterizing depression—are particularly important for addressing suicide risk in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-469
Number of pages13
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • anhedonia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • general distress
  • suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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