Rumination, Suicidal Ideation, and Suicide Attempts: A Meta-Analytic Review

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Abstract

Rumination has been implicated as a risk factor for suicidal ideation and attempts, yet the literature to date has not been synthesized. We conducted a meta-analysis of the association between rumination and both suicidal ideation and attempts to consolidate the existing literature (k = 29). Results indicated that the relationships between global rumination (k = 13; Hedge’s g = .74, p < .001, 95% CI [.45, 1.04]), brooding (k = 12; Hedge’s g = .63, p < .001, 95% CI [.35, .90]), and reflection (k = 12; Hedge’s g = .38, p = .002, 95% CI [.10, .65]) with suicidal ideation were significant. Associations between global rumination (k = 3; Hedge’s g = .26, p < .001, 95% CI [.08, .44]) and brooding (k = 4; Hedge’s g = .47, p = .004, 95% CI [.02, .91]) and suicide attempts were significant, but reflection (k = 4; Hedge’s g = .09, p = .646, 95% CI [−.54, .72]) was unrelated. However, given the limited studies included in suicide attempt analyses—and the exclusive use of cross-sectional designs and heterogeneity with regard to samples and measures—these parameters should be taken with caution. Generally, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and year of publication were not moderators, and there was little evidence for publication bias across effects, with the exception of the effect of global rumination on suicidal ideation. Several future research directions are discussed.

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