Profiles of Risk for Self-injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Among System-Impacted Girls of Color

Ana E. Sheehan, Nadia Bounoua, Raquel E. Rose, Naomi Sadeh, Shabnam Javdani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Suicide is a leading cause of death among youth in custodial settings. Prior research investigating risk factors for suicide among system-impacted youth fail to incorporate an intersectional framework to contextualize suicide risk among system-impacted girls of color. Method: Profiles of risk for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) were investigated in a sample of 240 racially and ethnically diverse system-impacted girls (mean [SD] age = 14.5 [1.7] years, Hispanic/Latinx 49.6%, Black 37.1%). Participants completed self-report measures evaluating traditional risk factors for suicide (mental health symptoms, trauma exposure) as well as assessments of minority stress (eg, daily discrimination) and recent engagement in SITBs at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Results: Latent profile analysis revealed 3 distinct profiles: low-risk, characterized by relatively low levels of suicide risk indicators (n = 102); high-risk internalizing, characterized by elevations in internalizing symptom indicators (n = 96); and high-risk comorbid, characterized by relatively high levels of suicide risk indicators (n = 42). Girls in the high-risk profiles reported more SITBs at baseline and 3-month follow-up than girls in the low-risk profile. Conclusion: Results suggest that indicators of suicide risk can be used to classify system-impacted girls into profiles that differ concurrently and prospectively on SITBs. Findings could be used to inform more accurate risk and referral assessments for system-impacted girls of color, whose SITB-related challenges may be overlooked or framed as criminal. These findings highlight the continued need for assessments evaluating multiple indicators of risk for SITBs in the juvenile legal system. Diversity & Inclusion Statement: We worked to ensure race, ethnic, and/or other types of diversity in the recruitment of human participants. We worked to ensure that the study questionnaires were prepared in an inclusive way. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as a member of one or more historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science. We actively worked to promote inclusion of historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science in our author group.


  • adolescence
  • risk factors
  • suicide
  • youth system–impacted

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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