2021 WIN Grantee

2021 Martha J. Lentz Western Institute for Nursing (WIN) – CANS Dissertation Grant

Daily Variations of Suicidal Ideation in Adolescents

Katherine Reeves, MS, PMHNP-BC, PhD Candidate, University of California, San Francisco Department of Community Health Systems, School of Nursing


Ms. Reeves’ research aims to explore the real-time experience of suicidal ideation (SI) and SI’s underlying mechanisms among adolescents at risk for suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents age 13-21, and rates continue to rise (Heron, 2019). In order to prevent suicide and deliver precise and effective psychiatric interventions, we need to know who, among those considering suicide, is at greatest risk for making an attempt. However, little progress has been made in predicting suicide risk in the last 50 years (Franklin et al., 2017). This is likely due to a lack of information regarding the experience of SI. Recent findings suggest that SI is heterogeneous, is comprised of many specific characteristics, and varies both between and within individuals (Rabasco & Sheehan, 2021). However, little is known about the timescale and the nature of its variability, or its underlying biological mechanisms.

To address these gaps, Ms. Reeves will use innovative approaches, such as intensive longitudinal design conducted on participants’ personal electronic devices, to explore the experience of SI in real-time among adolescents at risk of suicide. She will also assess potential mechanisms of SI by measuring cortisol reactivity to a stressor and how this relates to specific characteristics of the SI experience. This award will help fund Ms. Reeves’ dissertation study participation and the materials needed for the collection of biological marker data and its analysis. Subsequently, this award will support Ms. Reeves’ work at large and help build a foundation for a career in suicide prevention research.