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Prevalence of suicide attempt in individuals with major depressive disorder: a meta-analysis of observational surveys

  • Min Dong (a1), Liang-Nan Zeng (a2), Li Lu (a1), Xiao-Hong Li (a3), Gabor S. Ungvari (a4), Chee H. Ng (a5), Ines H. I. Chow (a1), Ling Zhang (a6), Yuan Zhou (a7) and Yu-Tao Xiang (a1)...



Suicide attempt (SA), which is one of the strongest predictors of completed suicide, is common in major depressive disorder (MDD) but its prevalence across epidemiological studies has been mixed. The aim of this comprehensive meta-analysis was to examine the pooled prevalence of SA in individuals with MDD.


A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Cochrane Library from their commencement date until 27 December 2017. Original studies containing data on prevalence of SA in individuals with MDD were analyzed.


In all, 65 studies with a total of 27 340 individuals with MDD were included. Using the random effects model, the pooled lifetime prevalence of SA was 31% [95% confidence interval (CI) 27–34%], 1-year prevalence was 8% (95% CI 3–14%) and 1-month prevalence was 24% (95% CI 15–34%). Subgroup analyses revealed that the lifetime prevalence of SA was significantly associated with the patient setting, study region and income level, while the 1-month prevalence of SA was associated with only the patient setting.


This meta-analysis confirmed that SA was common in individuals with MDD across the world. Careful screening and appropriate interventions should be implemented for SA in the MDD population.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Yu-Tao Xiang, E-mail:


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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