Child­hood abuse linked to sui­cide in adult­hood

Tempo - - News - (Xin­huanet)

– Adults, who as chil­dren, ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal, sex­ual, and emo­tional abuse or ne­glect are at least two to three times more likely to at­tempt sui­cide in later life, the largest re­search re­view ever car­ried out on the topic re­vealed Wed­nes­day.

Psy­chol­o­gists at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester and Univer­sity of South Wales pub­lished their find­ings after an anal­y­sis of 68 stud­ies from around the world - in­volv­ing 262,000 adults aged 18 years or older, who were ex­posed to child­hood abuse and ne­glect.

They found that sui­cide at­tempts were three times more likely for peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual abuse as a child; and two and a half times more likely for those who ex­pe­ri­enced phys­i­cal abuse as a child, or who ex­pe­ri­enced emo­tional abuse or ne­glect as a child.

Their re­search, pub­lished in the lat­est edi­tion of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Medicine, showed that chil­dren who ex­pe­ri­enced mul­ti­ple abuse are as much as five times higher to at­tempt sui­cide. Peo­ple not in con­tact with men­tal health clin­i­cians were found to be at the high­est level of risk.

Dr. Maria Pana­gi­oti, from the Univer­sity of Manch­ester, also based at a pa­tient safety trans­la­tional re­search cen­ter in the city, led the re­search team.

She said: “Around one adult in ev­ery three has ex­pe­ri­enced abuse as a child. This study con­clu­sively gives us solid ev­i­dence that child­hood abuse and ne­glect is as­so­ci­ated with in­creased like­li­hood that they will be at risk of sui­cide as adults.”

Pana­gi­oti said cur­rent treat­ment for peo­ple with sui­ci­dal be­hav­ior usu­ally cen­ters around cog­ni­tive be­hav­ioral ther­apy. “But that as­sumes peo­ple will seek help them­selves. This re­search iden­ti­fies that peo­ple who are not un­der the care of clin­i­cians are at risk,” she added.

She said a new ap­proach is needed to iden­tify these peo­ple, and to fo­cus ef­forts on ef­fec­tive com­mu­nity in­ter­ven­tion.

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