Juvenile bipolar disorder and suicidality: A review of the last 10 years of literature

Natacha Halfon, Réal Labelle, David Cohen, Jean Marc Guilé, Jean Jacques Breton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although children and adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD) are at elevated risk for suicide, little research to date has been conducted on suicidality in this population. The purpose of this descriptive review of the past 10 years of scientific literature on suicidality in youths with BD was to identify the risk and protective factors associated with this phenomenon, and to discuss the implications for research and clinical practice. Searches on Medline and PsycINFO databases for the period from early 2002 to mid-2012 yielded 16 relevant articles, which were subsequently explored using an analysis grid. Note that the authors employed a consensus analysis approach at all stages of the review. Four primary categories of risk factors for suicidality in youths with BD were identified: demographic (age and gender), clinical (depression, mixed state or mixed features specifier, mania, anxiety disorders, psychotic symptoms, and substance abuse), psychological (cyclothymic temperament, hopelessness, poor anger management, low self-esteem, external locus of control, impulsivity and aggressiveness, previous suicide attempts, and history of suicide ideation, non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors and past psychiatric hospitalization), and family/social (family history of attempted suicide, family history of depression, low quality of life, poor family functioning, stressful life events, physical/sexual abuse, and social withdrawal). Youths with BD who experienced more complex symptomatic profiles were at greater risk of suicidality. Few protective factors associated with suicidality have been studied among youths with BD. One protective factor was found in this descriptive literature review: the positive effects of dialectical behavior therapy. This article allows a better appreciation of the risk and protective factors associated with suicidality among youth with BD. Greater awareness of risk factors is the first step in suicide prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bipolar
  • Review
  • Suicidality
  • Youths

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