Life adversities and suicidal behavior in young individuals: a systematic review
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Suicidal behavior in young people is a significant public health problem. However, it is not yet clear whether adversities (adverse life events) may be related to suicidality in adolescence and early adulthood. This paper aimed to investigate systematically the association between the type/number of adverse life events and experiences and suicidal behavior in young people. We developed a detailed strategy to search relevant articles in Pubmed, Scopus, PsycInfo, and Science Direct (January 1980–January 2015) about adverse life events and suicidal behavior. Adverse life events and experiences included maltreatment and violence, loss events, intra-familial problems, school and interpersonal problems. Studies were restricted to suicidal behavior in young people aged 10–25 years. The search yielded 245 articles, of which 28 met our inclusion criteria. Most studies reported a strong association between adversities and suicidality (both suicidal ideation and attempts). Based on the main results, the number of adversities or negative life events experienced seemed to have a positive dose–response relationship with youth suicidal behavior. However, the type of event experienced also appeared to matter: one of the most consistent findings was the association between suicidal behavior and experience of sexual abuse. More prospective studies are needed to elucidate the relative importance of risk accumulation and risk specificity for youth suicide.
KeywordsSuicidal behavior Adolescence Life adversities Abuse Maltreatment
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this manuscript.
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