Sexual behavior and suicide attempts among adolescents aged 12–15 years from 38 countries: A global perspective

Nicola Veronese, Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, Davy Vancampfort, Daragh Mcdermott, Nicola Veronese, Lee Smith, Igor Grabovac, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Joseph Firth, Louis Jacob, Lin Yang, Sarah E Jackson, Ai Koyanagi

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Background: The aim was to investigate the relationship between sexual behaviors and suicide attempts by using data from 38 countries from four World Health Organization regions. Methods: Cross-sectional data from 116,820 adolescents aged 12–15 years participating in the Global School-based Student Health Survey 2009–2016 were analyzed. Data on sexual behaviors were collected: (i) ever having had intercourse; among those who reported having had intercourse, (ii) multiple (≥2) lifetime sexual partners and (iii) condom use in last sexual intercourse and past 12-month suicide attempts were self-reported. Associations were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Results: The prevalence of sexual intercourse and suicide attempts were 13.2% and 9.1%, respectively. A positive association between sexual intercourse and suicide attempts was found in 32 of the 38 countries (pooled OR for whole sample 2.12 [95% CI 1.98–2.27]). Having had multiple sexual partners was associated with increased odds of suicide attempts (pooled OR for whole sample 1.58 [1.27–1.96]). Condom non-use was only associated with suicide attempts among boys in the Americas (OR: 1.75 [1.25–2.45]). Conclusion: Engaging in sexual intercourse was associated with increased risk of suicide attempt. Moreover, having had multiple sexual partners may also increase the risk of suicide attempts. © 2019
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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