Gender differences in suicidal behavior in adolescents and young adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.


Health Services Research Group, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d´Investigacions Mèdiques, PRBB Building. Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003, Barcelona, Spain. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To assess the association between gender and suicide attempt/death and identify gender-specific risk/protective factors in adolescents/young adults.
METHODS : Systematic review (5 databases until January 2017). Population-based longitudinal studies considering non-clinical populations, aged 12-26 years, assessing associations between gender and suicide attempts/death, or evaluating their gender risk/protective factors, were included. Random effect meta-analyses were performed.
RESULTS : Sixty-seven studies were included. Females presented higher risk of suicide attempt (OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.54-2.50), and males for suicide death (HR 2.50, 95% CI 1.8-3.6). Common risk factors of suicidal behaviors for both genders are previous mental or substance abuse disorder and exposure to interpersonal violence. Female-specific risk factors for suicide attempts are eating disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, being victim of dating violence, depressive symptoms, interpersonal problems and previous abortion. Male-specific risk factors for suicide attempt are disruptive behavior/conduct problems, hopelessness, parental separation/divorce, friend's suicidal behavior, and access to means. Male-specific risk factors for suicide death are drug abuse, externalizing disorders, and access to means. For females, no risk factors for suicide death were studied.
CONCLUSIONS : More evidence about female-specific risk/protective factors of suicide death, for adolescent/young adults, is needed.


Adolescents,Gender,Risk factors,Suicide,Suicide attempt,Young adults,