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17% Of Preadolescents With Suicidal Ideation Transition To Attempting Suicide

About 17.0% of preadolescents (youth under age 13) experiencing suicidal ideation later attempt suicide. About 15.1% of preadolescents have had suicidal thoughts. Of those, about 2.6% later made a suicide attempt, and another 6.2% experienced a non-suicidal self-injury. The estimates were the result of a meta-analysis of 58 studies that included 626.5 million children. Within this group, the lifetime prevalence of suicide was 0.79 per 1 million children. Suicidal ideation includes self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs).

About 54% of preadolescents who had suicidal ideation had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and about 90% experienced depression. Of these preadolescents with ADHD or depression, 47% attempted suicide. Those youths experiencing maltreatment at home were 162% more likely to have suicidal ideation. However, youth with parental support at home were least likely (35% less likely) to have suicidal ideation.

These findings were reported in “Prevalence and Correlates of Suicide and Nonsuicidal Self-injury in Children; A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” by Richard T. Liu, Ph.D.; Rachel F. L. Walsh, MA; Ana E. Sheehan, MA; Shayna M. Cheek, MA; and Christina M. Sanzari, BA. The researchers analyzed studies included in the MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Embase databases from inception through December 23, 2021. Studies included in the analysis collected data on self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) in individuals younger than 13 years of age. The prevalence of preadolescent SITBs was based on data collected from individualized assessments completed by the study participants.

The full text of “Prevalence and Correlates of Suicide and Nonsuicidal Self-injury in Children” was published May 25, 2022 by JAMA Psychiatry. An abstract is available online at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2792812.

For more information, contact:

  • Richard T. Liu, Ph.D., Associate Professor ,Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114; Email: rtliupsych@gmail.com; Website: https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/197396

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