Predicting Suicide Attempts in Young Adults with Histories of Childhood Abuse


Brezo, Jelena
Paris, Joel
Vitaro, Frank
Hébert, Martine
Tremblay, Richard E.
Turecki, Gustavo

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Year of Publication: 
British Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 193, Issue 2, pp. 134-139

Childhood abuse has been linked with suicidality in the research literature. The aim of this study was to explore potential correlates and moderators of suicide attempts in adults reporting either childhood physical abuse, contact sexual abuse, or both. From an initial group of 4488 participating children, two subsamples were selected: (1) a random group of 1001 boys and 999 girls, and (2) a group oversampled for children exhibiting disruptive behaviours composed of 593 boys and 424 girls. Three waves of assessment were conducted when participants were children (yearly assessments from ages 6-12), adolescents (average age 15.7 years), and adults (average age 21.4 years).

Results revealed that participants with no history of childhood abuse had the lowest probability of non-fatal suicidal behaviours (i.e., ideation and suicide attempts) while those reporting physical abuse, sexual abuse, or both types of abuse had a progressively higher probability of such behaviours. Satisfying criteria for a disruptive disorder (e.g., conduct disorder, ADHD) tripled the likelihood of a suicide attempt history for those adults reporting physical abuse only. Female gender and low parental education was associated with suicide attempts for participants who reported both types of abuse.

Type of Publication: 
Journal article
Canadian CW research