Comparing youths who have attempted suicide to one another in a recent study may provide a clearer understanding to preventing teen suicides in the future.
Previous studies often used data from teens that have attempted suicide to teens that have not. Researchers at Emory University have found that comparing at-risk youths within the attempted suicide category makes more sense.
Lead author of the study, Dorothie Cross, says in an online psychology article that addressing the suicide risks of adolescents that attempt suicide should encompass the risk factors and the deeper understanding of their personalities. This is considered personality subtypes and utilizes a Q-factor analysis.
Q-factor analysis helps to identify these specific personality types based on the Shedler-Weston Assessment Procedure-II for Adolescents. This 200 item test is given by clinicians to understand personality pathology. The process was co developed by Dre Westen, one of the other authors of the study with Cross.
Q-factor was used in this particular study because of its ability to identify groups of teen suicide attempters that share certain personality characteristics that set them apart from other teens who have attempted suicide. Instead of aggregating variables, the Q-factor aggregates the patient.
About 950 psychiatrist and psychologists were gathered to work on the project. Those participants provided information on a single randomly selected teen patient receiving treatment for exact patterns of thought that would be relevant to the study but undiagnosed. This subjected 267 patients to the research team that had a history of attempting suicide.
This was positive feedback for the Q-factor study which resulted in the labeling of six subtypes for personality. Those were narcissistic, externalizing, high functioning, internalizing, emotionally deregulated and immature. Putting a title on these sorts of personalities could help medical professionals reduce the number of suicide attempts in young people.