Reducing Suicidal Ideation in Preadolescents With a History of Foster Care by Promoting School Readiness in Early Childhood

Katherine C. Pears, Stacey S. Tiberio, Hyoun K. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preadolescents with a history of foster care placement report suicidal ideation (SI) at higher rates than their peers, which increases their risk for suicide attempts in adolescence. Despite these increased risks, few interventions have been shown to reduce SI in these youth. This study examined the main and mediated long-term effects of a program to increase school readiness in children in foster care at age 5 years on SI when the children were ages 9–11 years, 4–6 years after the intervention ended. Children who received the intervention were less likely to report SI, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. The intervention reduced SI indirectly through its positive effect on children’s self-esteem at age 9 years. Implications for programming to reduce SI and subsequent suicide attempts in youth with a history of foster care are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Maltreatment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: We received funding for this project through grant R01DA021424 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. PHS and grant R01MH124437 from the National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. PHS. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding organizations.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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