Depression, hopelessness and aggression as predictors of suicidal ideation in delinquent and non-delinquent hospitalized adolescents

Chaim Nissel, Pace University


This study analyzed psychological, self report, test data accumulated from 1024 adolescents at a private psychiatric facility. The Youth Self Report (YSR)-Delinquent Behavior scale was utilized to divide subjects into delinquent and non-delinquent groups. The Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Hopelessness Scale, Reynold's Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire and YSR-Aggressive Behavior scale were used as measures of depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation and aggression, respectively. This study found that for both delinquent and nondelinquent groups, all three variables examined, aggression, depression and hopelessness, were highly significant in predicting suicidal ideation in hospitalized adolescents. It was predicted that aggression would be a more prominent factor than depression and hopelessness, in predicting suicidal ideation for delinquent adolescents more so than for nondelinquent adolescents. This was not indicated by the results of this study. In fact, aggression had equal predictive value for both groups. The predictive value of the three variables, aggression, depression and hopelessness, together accounted for close to 50% of the variance in suicidal ideation. Interaction effects were examined between each variable and delinquency and between combinations of the variables and delinquency and these were not significant. There appear to be no significant differences in the predictive value of aggression, depression and hopelessness in predicting ideation, between delinquent and nondelinquent hospitalized adolescents. These results show that aggression alone, is a significant factor in predicting ideation. It has greater predictive value when combined with depression and hopelessness. Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Nissel, Chaim, "Depression, hopelessness and aggression as predictors of suicidal ideation in delinquent and non-delinquent hospitalized adolescents" (1998). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9823693.



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