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What is the relationship between rejection and self-harm or suicidality in adulthood?

Cawley, Rosanne; Pontin, Eleanor E; Touhey, Jade; Sheehy, Kate; Taylor, Peter James.
J Affect Disord; 242: 123-134, 2019 01 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30173060


Rejection is an adverse experience that may help explain the heightened risk of self-harm and suicide amongst many societal groups. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the relationship between rejection experiences and self-harm and suicidal ideation.


The databases PsychINFO, CINAHL, Medline and Web of Science were searched from inception until May 2017 using key search terms. Quantitative studies were included if they were; (i) mean sample age over 18; (ii) in the English language; (iii) and had a measure of self-harm or suicidal behaviour and a measure of rejection. The results were synthesised narratively.


Eighteen studies were identified for the review. Fifteen out of the eighteen studies found a significant positive association between rejection and self-harm. This association was identified within several marginalised groups known to be at risk of self-harm, including those from lesbian, gay or bisexual sexuality or those who identify as transgender.


Heterogeneity between the measures of self-harm, suicidal behaviour and rejection, as well as the lack of longitudinal analyses made it difficult to draw firm conclusions.


Perceived rejection may leave some individuals at risk of self-harm and might account for the elevated risk in marginalised societal groups. Interventions focused on modifying rejection experiences may help reduce the risk of self-harm in this population.