Childhood trauma and suicide attempt: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies from the last decade

Psychiatry Res. 2017 Oct;256:353-358. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.06.082. Epub 2017 Jun 29.


Childhood trauma (CT) is a modifiable risk factor for lifetime suicide attempts (SA). However, the extent to which each type of CT increases SA risk is unclear. This study aimed to conduct a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published in the last 10 years about the relationship between CT and lifetime SA risk. The PUBMED, PsycINFO, ISI, and EMBASE databases were searched for cohort studies that reported AS during follow-up and included an assessment of CT. A meta-analysis was conducted to identify potential effects of each type of CT on SA. Seven unique studies were included for review. Sexual (n=6, OR=3.73, 95%CI 2.94-4.75, p<0.001), physical (n=6, OR=4.11, 95%CI 2.30-7.33, p<0.001), and emotional abuse (n=3, OR=3.98, 95%CI 2.89-5.64, p<0.001), as well as physical neglect (n=2, OR=3.42, 95%CI 2.09-5.59, p<0.001), were associated with SA. Emotional neglect and a broken home were not significantly associated with further SA. The modes of CT that most contribute to SA in later life are physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and physical neglect, in descending order.

Keywords: Childhood trauma; Longitudinal studies; Meta-analysis; Review; Suicide.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Young Adult