Interpersonal Life Stress and Inflammatory Reactivity as Prospective Predictors of Suicide Attempts in Adolescent Females

Matthew G. Clayton, Benjamin W. Nelson, Matteo Giletta, Paul D. Hastings, Matthew K. Nock, Karen D. Rudolph, George M. Slavich, Mitchell J. Prinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescents’ suicidal behavior frequently is preceded by interpersonal stress, but not all who experience distress attempt to end their lives. Recent theories have posited individual differences in stress-related inflammatory reactivity may be associated with psychopathology risk; this study examined inflammatory reactivity as a moderator of the prospective association between interpersonal stress and adolescents’ suicidal behavior. Participants included 157 at-risk adolescent females (ages 12 to 16 years) and assessed individual differences in proinflammatory cytokine responses to a brief laboratory-based social stressor, both interpersonal and non-interpersonal life events, and suicidal behavior over an 18-month follow-up period. Measuring levels of the key proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) before and after an experimentally-induced social stressor, results revealed that blunted cytokine reactivity heightened the effect of high interpersonal stress exposure on risk for suicidal behaviors over the subsequent 9 months. Significant effects were not revealed for non-interpersonally themed stress. Finding highlight the urgent need for more research examining inflammation reactivity among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-987
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Life stress
  • Social stress
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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