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J Affect Disord. 2019 Feb 15;245:806-811. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.070. Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Negative peer social interactions and oxytocin levels linked to suicidal ideation in anxious youth.

Author information

1
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, 230 S. Frontage Rd., New Haven, CT 06520, United States. Electronic address: eli.lebowitz@yale.edu.
2
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, 230 S. Frontage Rd., New Haven, CT 06520, United States; Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, United States.
3
Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, 230 S. Frontage Rd., New Haven, CT 06520, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anxious youth are at risk for negative peer interactions including peer victimization, and for suicidal ideation. However, data about the pattern of association between these two factors are scarce. In this study we examined the association between negative peer interactions and suicidal ideation in a sample of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, and whether oxytocin, which has been shown to enhance the impact of social events, moderates the impact of negative peer interactions on suicidal ideation.

METHOD:

Participants were 168 youths with primary anxiety disorders. All participants were assessed with semi-structured diagnostic interviews, and with self-report measures of suicidal ideation, negative peer interactions, anxiety, and depression. The anxious youths' salivary oxytocin levels were measured with immunoassay.

RESULTS:

Thirty percent of the anxious youths reported suicidal ideation, with suicidal ideation severity associated with negative peer social interactions and depressive symptoms. Consistent with past data indicating that oxytocin enhances the impact of social events, the association between peer negative social interactions and suicidal ideation was stronger in youths with high oxytocin levels than in youths with low levels (i.e., moderation).

LIMITATIONS:

Assessment focused on suicidal ideation and data on suicidal behavior were not available. Limitations inherent to immunoassay measurement of peripheral oxytocin levels are noted.

CONCLUSION:

Negative peer interactions are associated with suicidal ideation in youth with anxiety disorders, and the association is stronger in youth with high oxytocin levels.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent; Anxiety; Child; Oxytocin; Suicidal ideation

PMID:
30699863
PMCID:
PMC6361537
[Available on 2020-02-15]
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2018.11.070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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