Prevalence and associated factors of suicidality in Japanese adolescents: Results from a population-based questionnaire survey

Shinichiro Nagamitsu, Masakazu Mimaki, Kenshi Koyanagi, Natsuko Tokita, Yoriko Kobayashi, Ritsuko Hattori, Ryuta Ishii, Michiko Matsuoka, Yushiro Yamashita, Zentaro Yamagata, Takashi Igarashi, Paul E. Croarkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Suicide is the leading cause of death among Japanese adolescents. However, knowledge gaps regarding contemporary demographics and factors associated with suicidality among Japanese adolescents are a major concern. This study examined the prevalence of suicidality among Japanese adolescents and investigated associated factors. Methods: A population-based questionnaire survey investigating general health was administered to 22,419 adolescents aged 13-18 years. The 29-item questionnaire covered emotional status, family function, cyberbullying, suicidality, and stressors (e.g., relationships with parents/friends, school performance, and sexual identity). We conducted multiple logistic regression analysis to identify factors associated with suicidality in this population. Results: The prevalence of suicidal ideation was 21.6% in males and 28.5% in females, and that of attempted suicide was 3.5% in males and 6.6% and in females. Bullying and stress related to family relationships had the strongest associations with suicidality. Exposure to cyberbullying had the highest odds ratio for both junior high (3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.1-4.4) and high school students (3.6, 95% CI 2.5-5.3). Other factors significantly associated with suicidality were sex, emotional status, and stress about relationships with friends, sexual identity, school records, and academic course. Adolescents accessed a variety of resources to cope with stressors, with the Internet being the most common resource consulted. Conclusions: Suicidality is commonly experienced among Japanese adolescents. Although there are many associated risk factors, cyberbullying is of particular concern. Recognition of factors associated with adolescent suicidality will inform further research and suicide prevention efforts for healthcare providers and families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number467
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 6


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cyberbullying
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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