Examining risk factors for self-harm and suicide in LGBTQ+ young people: a systematic review protocol

A Jess Williams, Jon Arcelus, Ellen Townsend, Maria Michail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


INTRODUCTION: Young people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+) are at increased risk for self-harm, suicide ideation and behaviours. However, there has yet to be a comprehensive understanding of what risk factors influence these behaviours within LGBTQ+ young people as a whole. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine risk factors associated with self-harm, suicidal ideation and behaviour in LGBTQ+) young people.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A systematic review will be conducted, conforming to the reporting guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement recommendations. Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Scopus, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Web of Science) will be systematically searched for cross-sectional, prospective, longitudinal, cohort and case-control designs which examine risk factors for self-harm and/or suicidal ideation and behaviour in LGBTQ+ young people (aged 12-25 years). Only studies published in English will be included. No date restrictions will be applied. Study quality assessment will be conducted using the original and modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scales. Meta-analysis or narrative synthesis will be used, dependent on findings.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This is a systematic review of published literature and thereby ethical approval was not sought. The review will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, be publicly disseminated at conferences focusing on mental health, self-harm and suicide prevention. The findings will also be shared through public engagement and involvement, particularly those related to young LGBTQ+ individuals.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere031541
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


  • suicide & self-harm
  • gender identity
  • young people
  • sexual orientation
  • systematic review
  • protocol


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