There are an increasing number of studies that discussed suicide ideation (SI), suicide plan (SP), and suicide attempt (SA) among left-behind children (LBC). However, the prevalence of these indicators of LBC has not been synthesized and the true correlation between these indicators and left-behind status remains unclear.
Electronic databases were comprehensively searched, and eligible observational studies were selected to extract useful data. We pooled the rates and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) to determine the prevalence of SI, SP, and SA among LBC. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated to reflect the association between left-behind status and risk of SI, SP, and SA.
Among LBC, the pooled prevalence was 18.7% (95% CI: 15.4–21.9) for SI, 6.4% (95% CI: 4.7–8.1) for SP, and 3.1% (95% CI: 2.6–3.6) for SA. Compared to non-LBC, LBC was at higher risk of SI (OR = 1.26), SP (OR = 1.20), and SA (OR = 1.14), but only the effect for SI achieved statistical significance.
Overall, the prevalence of SI, SP, and SA is common among LBC, and parental migration has a significant impact on the SI of LBC. Intervention plans and programs are urgently needed to prevent suicidality of this vulnerable group.