Psychosocial risk factors for suicidality in children and adolescents

J. J. Carballo, C. Llorente, L. Kehrmann, I. Flamarique, A. Zuddas, D. Purper-Ouakil, P. J. Hoekstra, D. Coghill, U. M. E. Schulze, R. W. Dittmann, J. K. Buitelaar, J. Castro-Fornieles, K. Lievesley, Paramala Santosh (Lead / Corresponding author), C. Arango,

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    197 Citations (Scopus)
    222 Downloads (Pure)


    Suicidality in childhood and adolescence is of increasing concern. The aim of this paper was to review the published literature identifying key psychosocial risk factors for suicidality in the paediatric population. A systematic two-step search was carried out following the PRISMA statement guidelines, using the terms 'suicidality, suicide, and self-harm' combined with terms 'infant, child, adolescent' according to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health classification of ages. Forty-four studies were included in the qualitative synthesis. The review identified three main factors that appear to increase the risk of suicidality: psychological factors (depression, anxiety, previous suicide attempt, drug and alcohol use, and other comorbid psychiatric disorders); stressful life events (family problems and peer conflicts); and personality traits (such as neuroticism and impulsivity). The evidence highlights the complexity of suicidality and points towards an interaction of factors contributing to suicidal behaviour. More information is needed to understand the complex relationship between risk factors for suicidality. Prospective studies with adequate sample sizes are needed to investigate these multiple variables of risk concurrently and over time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)759-776
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    Issue number6
    Early online date25 Jan 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


    • Adolescents
    • Children
    • Psychosocial
    • Questionnaire
    • Resilience
    • Risk
    • Suicidality
    • Web-based
    • Youth

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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