Associations between maternal closeness, suicidal ideation, and risk behaviors in Cape Town. Academic Article uri icon


  • Health compromising behaviors, such as smoking and other risk behaviors tend to co-occur, and contribute to the leading causes of preventable death, disease, and disability among adolescents and young adults worldwide. The present study assesses a model of the direct and indirect effects of maternal closeness with suicidal ideation on smoking and risky behaviors. The sample consisted of 657 South African youth assessed over two time points with comparison of effects between males and females. Maternal closeness had a significant effect on suicidal ideation among females. Suicidal ideation had a significant effect on risky behaviors among males and lifetime smoking among females. A significant indirect effect was observed from maternal closeness to lifetime smoking among females. These results indicate that suicidal ideation is associated with lifetime smoking and risky behaviors separately among male and female adolescents and highlight the need to focus on the development of mental health preventive interventions for both genders.

published proceedings

  • Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry

author list (cited authors)

  • Gilreath, T. D., King, G., Graham, J. W., Flisher, A. J., & Lombard, C.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Gilreath, Tamika D||King, Gary||Graham, John W||Flisher, Alan J||Lombard, Carl

publication date

  • January 2009