Social anxiety and suicidality in youth: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Leigh, Eleanor, Chiu, Kenny ORCID: and Ballard, Elizabeth D. (2023) Social anxiety and suicidality in youth: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 51 (4). 441–454. ISSN 2730-7166

[thumbnail of Leigh_etal_2022_RoCaAP]
PDF (Leigh_etal_2022_RoCaAP)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people every year. Identifying risk factors provides opportunities to intervene, and social anxiety may represent one such factor. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to review the evidence of associations between social anxiety and suicidality in youth (10–25 years). Embase, PsycInfo, and Medline were searched to identify relevant articles. Meta-analysis was conducted to examine the mean effect sizes of concurrent and prospective associations between social anxiety and three indices of suicidality in adolescents aged 10–25 years. Meta-analyses of 16 studies showed that social anxiety was associated cross-sectionally with suicide attempt (r = 0.10, 95% CI: 0.04, 0.15), suicidal ideation (r = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.41), and suicide risk (r = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.41), and prospectively at trend level with suicidal ideation (r = 0.62, 95% CI: -0.03, 0.90). An examination of the prospective associations with suicide attempt and risk was not possible due to a lack of studies. Several studies suggested that results could not be solely attributed to depressive symptoms. A high level of heterogeneity was observed in each meta-analysis. Moderation analysis was possible for gender and publication year only; neither was significant. Findings provide further evidence of a link between social anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in youth but are limited by the small number of studies of mixed quality. This review supports future research into social anxiety symptoms as potential risk factors and treatment targets for suicidal youth.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding: Eleanor Leigh was funded by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellowship. Elizabeth Ballard is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health Intramural Research Program, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [102176/Z/13/Z]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright license to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescent,meta-analysis,social anxiety,social phobia,suicide,youth,psychiatry and mental health,developmental and educational psychology,sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2738
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 14:33
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2023 16:30
DOI: 10.1007/s10802-022-00996-0


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item