Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Review Article

Early-life trauma, impulsivity and suicide attempt: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Alexandra Bender Nabinger, Alana Castro Panzenhagen, Thricy Dahmer, Roberto Farina Almeida, André Utsch Dias, Brenio Felipe Batista Pereira, Cristine Weihrauch Pedro, Graziela Smaniotto Rodrigues, Izabela Keuffer Adão, Pedro Henrique Oliveira Robini, Julia Sampaio Silva, Rafael Rocha, Raul Prates Dantas, José Cláudio Fonseca Moreira, Edison Capp, Flávio Milman Shansis

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Suicide is a worldwide health concern and up to date there is no good predictor of it except a previous suicide attempt. Therefore, there are increasing efforts in the understanding of which factors, genetic or environmental, are associated with suicide behaviour. 

To review evidence of the effect of childhood trauma and impulsivity on suicidal behavior through a systematic review and meta-analysis. Methods: Searches were conducted on the 12th of June 2021 in the PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. Two reviewers evaluated each record for eligibility and discussed upon disagreement, when no consensus was reached, a third reviewer was involved to make a decision. 

A total of 11,530 records were identified through the searches. After duplicates were removed, 6,595 records remained to be screened. The full text was sought for 1,561 records. Our qualitative synthesis included 22 studies, from which 9 were included in the meta-analyses. We found a significant effect of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and physical neglect on suicide attempts in the prisoners, and Substance Use Diorder (SUD) subgroups. Moreover, there was a significant effect of Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) total score and emotional neglect dimension for all the subgroups. 

The present study has provided an overview of the state-of-the-art research on childhood trauma and impulsivity and their association with suicidal behavior and quantified their effects on suicide attempts.  Hopefully this evidence will be considered in future research and harnessed for clinical gain in detection and treatment of suicide behaviour.


Behaviour, childhood, trauma, psychiatry, suicide

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