Systematic review of short-term predictors of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

PRISMA diagram of review process

Suicide is notoriously difficult to predict. We know that predicting suicide in clinically meaningful time periods (i.e., hours, days, or weeks) is extremely important, and yet there is an absence of research summarizing results of the many important studies that have investigated how various factors predict (or don’t predict) suicide at short-term timescales.

This systematic review summarizes the results of > 140 studies investigating factors that predict suicide in the short-term (3 months or less).

As my team and I began the data extraction process for the original paper, we also realized we’d need to write another paper using these data - a paper summarizing sociodemographic reporting practices within suicide research. Surprisingly few studies report very basic characteristics that are highly relevant to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, like sexual orientation, for example. This paper will be a “call to action” for the field to follow more thorough and inclusive sociodemographic reporting practices, for researchers to better contextualize study samples and more comprehensively acknowledge the groups at disproportionate risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors who were or were not included in the study.

Lauren Forrest, PhD
Lauren Forrest, PhD
Assistant Professor