Faculty Articles

Suicidality in Homeless Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

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Aggression and Violent Behavior






Suicide has been found to be the leading cause of death in the homeless youth population. Mortality rates due to suicide in this cohort can be 12–40 times more elevated than those observed in the general population. Therefore, a systematic review of the literature was conducted in order to investigate potential factors associated with suicidality among homeless children and adolescents. After a thorough investigation of peer-reviewed articles from main databases in this literature (ProQuest and EBSCO), a final number of 94 articles were studied to produce the contents of this systematic review. Factors associated with suicidality were divided into two main categories, namely risk factors and protective factors. The results of this review revealed significant risk factors including gender, sexual orientation, history of abuse, mental health diagnoses, negative coping styles, duration of homelessness, and survival sex. Conversely, this review identified protective factors associated with suicidality among homeless children and adolescents, such as the role of resilience, positive coping strategies, and supportive school environment. Given the impact of suicide rates in this already at-risk population, understanding these factors becomes paramount knowledge related to long-term outcomes for the homeless youth population.



Peer Reviewed