Cognitive-behavioral interventions to reduce suicide behavior: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Behav Modif. 2008 Jan;32(1):77-108. doi: 10.1177/0145445507304728.


Suicide behavior is a serious clinical problem worldwide, and understanding ways of reducing it is a priority. A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out to investigate whether Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBTs) would reduce suicide behavior. From 123 potential articles, 28 studies met the entry criteria. Overall, there was a highly significant effect for CBT in reducing suicide behavior. Subgroup analysis indicates a significant treatment effect for adult samples (but not adolescent), for individual treatments (but not group), and for CBT when compared to minimal treatment or treatment as usual (but not when compared to another active treatment). There was evidence for treatment effects, albeit reduced, over the medium term. Although these results appear optimistic in advocating the use of CBT in ameliorating suicidal thoughts, plans, and behaviors, evidence of a publication bias tempers such optimism.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Suicide / prevention & control*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome