Bisphenol AF exposure synergistically increases the risk for suicidality among early adolescents with child maltreatment: A prospective cohort study

Yonghan Li, Mengyuan Yuan, Chao Zhang, Xueying Zhang, Jiahu Hao, Fangbiao Tao, Gengfu Wang, Puyu Su

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    Background: Child maltreatment (CM) is correlated with suicidality risk among adolescents. Additionally, exposure to bisphenol AF (BPAF) may increase this risk. However, the combined effect of CM and BPAF exposure remains unknown and should be further investigated. Methods: In this study, 1,475 early adolescents (mean age = 12.48 years) from the Chinese Early Adolescents Cohort were enrolled. Data were collected at three time points with an interval of 12 months between 2019 and 2021. Participants’ history of CM and suicidality (including suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts) were evaluated using a self-report questionnaire. Blood samples were obtained from participants to measure serum BPAF concentrations at baseline. Group-based trajectory modeling was employed to identify different developmental trajectories of suicidality across the three waves. After adjusting for potential confounders, the association between CM and BPAF exposure on suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts was assessed using logistic regression and Poisson regression analyses. Results: Participants with CM were associated with a risk of one- and two-year incident suicidality (all ps < 0.05), and BPAF levels were positively associated with two-year incident suicidal ideation (adjusted OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.13–2.50). Additionally, middle and high levels of BPAF exposure synergistically increase the risk for one- and two-year incident suicidal ideation among participants with CM (adjusted ORs = 2.00–3.83). Similarly, participants exposed to high-level BPAF as well as CM were at a greater risk of one- and two-year incident suicidal attempts than those with low-level BPAF exposure and no CM (adjusted incidence rate ratio [IRRs] = 2.82–4.34). Moreover, compared with participants with a low developmental trajectory of suicidality across the three waves, high BPAF exposure exhibited a significant synergistic effect on participants with CM in the persistently high suicidal ideation trajectory and the increasing suicidal attempts trajectory (all ps < 0.05). Sex subgroup analysis revealed that females were more susceptible to the synergistic effect of BPAF and CM exposure on suicidality than males. Conclusions: Environmental factors and the psychological status of individuals may synergistically increase their susceptibility to suicidality. These results offer novel insights into enhancing our understanding of suicidality among adolescents.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number116511
    JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    StatePublished - 1 Jul 2024


    • Bisphenol AF
    • Child maltreatment
    • Early adolescents
    • Suicidal attempts
    • Suicidal ideation
    • Synergistic effect


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