Everyday functioning of male adolescents who later died by suicide: Results of a pilot case-control study using mixed-method analysis

Ortal Buhnick-Atzil, Katya Rubinstein, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Sharon Fischer, Eyal Fruchter, Matthew Large, Mark Weiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective Previous research has shown a link between difficulties in everyday functioning and suicidality in adolescence. The majority of research in this field focuses on suicidal ideation and attempts, rather than on completed suicide. The main goal of this study is to better characterize everyday functioning among young men who later completed suicide. Based on previous literature, we hypothesized that the functioning of adolescents who died by suicide would be poor, compared to controls. Methods The current study is a record-driven study, which examined summaries of screening interviews performed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of 20 male adolescents who later completed suicide, compared with 20 matched living controls. The current study is a pilot stage of a larger project. The study used unique data, collected as part of the IDF pre-induction process, in the months or years before the tragic outcome. The data were extracted by two psychologists, blinded to the participants' suicide or non-suicide outcome, using mixed-method technique, combining qualitative and quantitative analysis. Results The main findings indicated that, in comparison with controls, male adolescents who later died by suicide were described as having more interpersonal difficulties, were more likely to be involved in violent behavior, had more difficulties in dealing with problems in everyday functioning and had an avoidant conflict resolution style. Conclusions Functional difficulties are apparent in a wide range of behavioral domains in adolescents who later complete suicide. These findings indicate a need for interventions that might assist young persons, and it is possible that such assistance might reduce the likelihood of suicide. However, because suicide is a rare outcome and these behavioral traits are common in adolescence, the presence of such traits might not be useful in identifying people at risk of suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Functioning before suicide
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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