Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

AbstractSuicidality is a common public health concern in young people. Previous research has highlighted pain as a key correlate of suicidality in young people. However, the long-term experience of pain may vary between individuals, and the relationship between distinct pain trajectories and suicidality is poorly understood. This study aims to describe the number and nature of distinct pain trajectories, their demographic and clinical correlates, including baseline suicidality, and whether identified pain trajectories may predict future suicidality. Secondary data analyses were performed, using longitudinal data from the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey (N = 7977), collected at five timepoints between 2004 and 2007 on a population-based sample of UK youth (5–16 years). Data were collected from up to three respondents (parents, teachers, and 11 + year-olds). Latent Class Growth Analysis was used to identify distinct pain trajectories, explore predictors of these trajectories, and establish whether trajectories predicted future suicidality. We identified the following four pain trajectories: increasing (33.6%), decreasing (4.5%), persistent/recurrent probability of pain (15.7%), and no pain (46.2%). Pain trajectories were associated with unique demographic and clinical correlates. Only the persistent/recurrent (vs. no-pain) trajectory was predicted by baseline suicidality (aOR = 2.24; 95% bootstrap-CI = 1.59–3.26). Furthermore, the persistent/recurrent trajectory predicted future suicidality (aOR = 1.03, 95% bootstrap-CI = 1.01–1.06), after controlling for baseline suicidality, psychiatric disorder, age, and gender. Findings provide a better understanding of correlates associated with distinct pain trajectories and long-term risk of suicidality in young people, suggesting a bidirectional pain–suicidality association and emphasising the need of targeted support for young people with persistent/recurrent pain.

Original publication




Journal article


European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date