Early Sexual Initiation Is Associated with Suicide Attempts among Chinese Young People

Jianing Ren, Xinran Qi, Wenzhen Cao, Zhicheng Wang, Yueping Guo, Junjian Gaoshan, Xiao Liang, Kun Tang

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4 Citations (SciVal)


This study aimed to investigate the association between early sexual initiation and suicide attempts (SAs) among Chinese young people. Our analysis included 9131 college students who had sexual experience from a national sample of 31 provincial administrative regions. Self-reported age at first intercourse was categorized as ≤15, 15–18, and ≥18 years, and the experience of SAs was recorded and analyzed. Compared with females whose sexual debut age was ≥18 years, those ≤15 years (defined as early sexual initiation) had higher odds of SAs in both the forced debut group (odds ratio (OR) 17.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.87–59.66) and the voluntary debut group (OR 37.63, 95% CI 14.96–94.66). Early sexual initiators who lived in rural areas were more inclined to have SAs (female: OR 65.76, 95% CI 19.80–218.42; male: OR 15.39, 95% CI 1.64–144.19). Early sexual initiators who never had parent–child communication about sex were more likely to report having SAs (female: OR 37.81, 95% CI 12.28–116.46). Sexual debut during adolescence, particularly early sexual initiation, was a crucial risk factor for SAs among both sexes. Comprehensive sexuality education and smooth parental communication about sex will provide a supportive environment for young people and hence reduce the potential risks of SAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3966
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Early online date26 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Chinese
  • early sexual debut
  • early sexual initiation
  • suicide attempts
  • young people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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