The research output on child and adolescent suicide in Brazil: a systematic review of the literature


Braz. J. Psychiatry




Objective: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Brazilians aged 10 to 24 years. We aimed to review and describe the research output on suicide in children and adolescents in Brazil and to identify strengths and gaps in this literature. Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE was searched for studies on suicide of children and adolescents (aged 0-19 years) in Brazil, published from inception to December 31, 2017. Results: Our search identified 1,061 records, of which 146 were included. A large proportion (134 studies; 90.4%) were original articles classified as observational epidemiological studies. Fifty-two articles (35.6%) used primary data. Of those, 18 (12.3%) evaluated prevalence of suicidal behaviors in population-based samples. Seventy studies (47.9%) addressed death by suicide, and the remainder reported other phenomena, such as ideation, planning, or suicide attempt. Only 37 publications (25.3%) studied children and/or adolescents exclusively. Most of the studies (53.5%) were conducted with samples from the South and Southeast regions of Brazil. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the body of evidence on suicide among children and adolescents in Brazil is limited. The scientific output is of low quality, and there is a complete lack of interventional studies specifically designed for the youth population.

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