Female adolescents' suicidal behavior and mothers' ways of coping

Moshe Israelashvili*, Sigal Gilad-Osovitzki, Jacob Asherov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: The literature supports the notion that suicidal adolescents are poor copers. However it is still unclear what contributes to their poor coping. Aims: The present study explored the possibility that female adolescents' suicidal behavior is an imitation of their mothers' tendency to escape active and problem-focused coping. Method: Female adolescents who appeared in a hospital emergency room because of suicidal behavior (SB), and a control group (non-SB) completed Carver, Scheier and Weintraub's (1989) COPE inventory and Shanan and Nissan's (1961) Active Coping Test. Their mothers also completed the COPE inventory. Results: Hardly any significant differences between SB and non-SB were found, both for female adolescents and for their mothers. Nevertheless, significant age effects were evident, indicating that mothers tend to use more problem-focused coping while adolescents tend to use more disengagement. Moreover, mother-adolescent correlations were significant only for non-SB, except for a significant negative correlation between SB adolescents and their mothers in seeking emotional social support. Conclusions: Results highlight the possibility that only non-SB - but not SB - female adolescents are exposed to a maternal model of positive coping behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • Adolescents
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Ways of coping


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