Perceived academic performance as an indicator of risk of attempted suicide in young adolescents

Angela S. Richardson, Helen A. Bergen, Graham Martin, Leigh Roeger, Stephen Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated perceived academic performance and self-reported suicidal behavior in adolescents (n = 2,596), mean age 13 years, from 27 South Australian high schools. Groups perceiving their academic performance as failing, below average, average and above average were significantly different on measures of self-esteem, locus of control, depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts, plans, threats, deliberate self-injury, and suicide attempts. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that failing academic performance (compared to above average) is associated with a five-fold increased likelihood of a suicide attempt, controlling for self-esteem, locus of control and depressive symptoms. Teachers should note that a student presenting with low self-esteem, depressed mood and perceptions of failure may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and need referral for clinical assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Academic performance
  • Adolescents
  • Attempted suicide
  • Locus of control
  • Self-esteem


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