Violence victimization and suicide attempts among adolescents aged 12–15 years from thirty-eight low- and middle-income countries

Lee Smith, Daragh McDermott, Louis Jacob, Yvonne Barnett, Laurie Butler, Jae Il Shin, Ai Koyanagi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The association between violence victimization and suicide attempts in a large representative sample of adolescents from low- and middle-income-countries (LMICs) of multiple continents has never been investigated. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between being a victim of physical attacks (independent variable) and suicide attempts (dependent variable) in a sample of 117,472 students aged 12–15 years [mean (SD) age 13.8 (0.9) years; girls 49.4%] from thirty-eight LMICs in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Methods: Cross-sectional data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) were analyzed. Self-reported data on past 12-month suicide attempts and exposure to physical attacks were collected. Logistic regression and meta-analysis were conducted. Results: The overall prevalence of suicide attempts and physical attacks were 10.1% and 39.4%, respectively. Overall, the results of the meta-analysis based on country-wise estimates adjusted for potential confounders (i.e., age, sex, food insecurity, alcohol consumption, bullying victimization, anxiety-induced sleep problems, low parental support/involvement, loneliness) showed that physical attacks were associated with a 1.71 (95%CI = 1.62–1.81) times higher odds for suicide attempt. Conclusions: In this large sample of adolescents from multiple LMICs, violence victimization was associated with significantly increased odds of suicide attempts. Future longitudinal studies are required to assess causality, and whether addressing exposure to violence can positively impact on adolescent suicide rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-153
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral Hospital Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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