For a study, researchers sought to analyze preadolescent self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) prevalence estimates, establish correlations between these outcomes, and compare preadolescent and adolescent SITBs in terms of related attributes.

From inception to December 23, 2021, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Embase were systematically searched for research on the prevalence and correlation of preadolescent SITBs. The scope of the search was limited to English-language publications and peer-reviewed journals. Two independent reviewers identified papers that provided data on the prevalence and correlates of preadolescent SITBs. Two reviewers retrieved each research’s data separately, and the Joanna Briggs Institute Checklist for Prevalence Studies was used to grade study quality. Random-effects meta-analyses were used to get pooled prevalence, and Cohen d. The reporting guidelines for Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) were followed. 

About 58 studies with a total of 626,486,590 participants were considered. In the overall population, the lifetime frequency of suicide was 0.79 per 1 million children. In community samples, the prevalence of lifetime suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and nonsuicidal self-injury was 15.1%, 2.6%, and 6.2%, respectively. According to the findings, around 17.0% of preadolescents with suicidal thoughts attempt suicide. Several studies have found that males are more likely than females to develop SITBs throughout preadolescence. Correlate data for SITBs other than suicidal ideation were modest, but among specific disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (suicidal ideation: d=0.54 [95% CI, 0.34-0.75]) and depression (suicidal ideation: d=0.90 [95 % CI, 0.71-1.09]; suicide attempts: d=0.47 [95% CI, 0.26-0.68] merged as the strongest correlates. Child maltreatment (suicidal ideation: d=2.62 [95% CI, 1.56-3.67]) and parental support (suicidal ideation: d=-0.34 [95 % CI, -0.46 to -0.22]) had the greatest effect sizes among interpersonal variables.

Although preadolescent suicide fatalities were uncommon in this systematic review and meta-analysis, other kinds of SITB occurred with alarming regularity. Males were more likely to develop SITBs in preadolescence than in adolescence. In this age range, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, child maltreatment, and parental support were all associated with suicide ideation and depression for suicidal thoughts and acts. More research is needed, particularly on SITBs other than suicidal ideation.