Given that death by suicide continues to rank among the top three causes of death during adolescence, new psychological models may contribute critical insight towards understanding the complex interactions between risk and protective factors in suicidal behaviour. The main objective of this study was to analyse the psychological network structure of suicidal behaviour and putative risk and protective factors in school-aged adolescents. Methods: Stratified random cluster sampling was performed. The final sample comprised 1790 students (53.7% female, M
= 15.7 years, SD
= 1.26). Instruments were administered to assess suicidal behaviour, emotional and behavioural difficulties, prosocial behaviour, subjective well-being, self-esteem, depressive symptomatology, academic performance, socio-economic status, school engagement, bullying, and cyberbullying. Results: In the estimated psychological network, the node with the highest strength was depressive symptomatology, and that with the highest expected influence value was bullying. Suicidal behaviour was positively connected to symptoms of depression and behavioural problems. In addition, suicidal behaviour was negatively connected to self-esteem and personal well-being. The results of the stability analysis indicated that the network was accurately estimated. Conclusions: Suicidal behaviour can be conceptualised as a dynamic, complex system of cognitive, emotional, and affective characteristics. New psychological models allow us to analyse and understand human behaviour from a new perspective, suggesting new forms of conceptualisation, evaluation, intervention, and prevention.
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