Lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors in gender non-conforming youths : a meta-analysis

Gender identity represents a topic of growing interest in mental health research. People with non-conforming gender identity are prone to suffer from stigmatization and bullying and often present psychiatric issues, which may in turn lead to a high prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviors. The present meta-analysis aimed to estimate the prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors in gender non-conforming children, adolescents and young adults. A systematic search was performed in Web of Science and PsycINFO from inception to December 2018. We selected cross-sectional and cohort studies including youths (up to 25 years) with a diagnosis confirmed by a clinician according to international classifications, or after a direct interview with a peer. A random-effects meta-analysis was computed for the following outcomes: non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Overall, we found a mean prevalence of NSSI of 28.2% (9 studies, 3057 participants, 95% CI 14.8–47.1). A similar prevalence (28%) was found for suicidal ideation (6 studies, 2249 participants, 95% CI 15–46.3), while the prevalence of suicide attempts was 14.8% (5 studies, 1039 participants, 95% CI 7.8–26.3). Subgroup analyses revealed no significant differences according to biological sex. Given the prevalence of suicidal behaviors in gender non-conforming youths, it appears desirable to implement therapeutic and support strategies for this population. Moreover, educational interventions directed to parents, teachers, mental health professionals and general community should be promoted to struggle against stigma and social isolation, factors that may contribute to increasing the risk of suicidal behaviors.


Teresa Surace, Laura Fusar-Poli, Lucia Vozza, Vito Cavone, Chiara Arcidiacono, Rossella Mammano, Lucia Basile, Alessandro Rodolico, Pablo Bisicchia, Pasquale Caponnetto, Maria Salvina Signorelli & Eugenio Aguglia | 2020
In: European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN : 1435-165X
online: 13/03/2020
Adolescents, Children, Death by Suicide, Gender Identity Disorders, Gender Issues, Meta Analysis, Prevention, Self Mutilation, Stressors, Suicidality, Young Adults