Published: 10th January 2019
Child abuse and neglect linked to greater risk of suicide in later life, says study
As part of the project, researchers analysed 68 studies and revealed that suicide attempts were three times more likely for people who experienced sexual abuse as a child
Children who are subjected to abuse and neglect are at least two to three times more likely to attempt suicide in later life, a recent study suggests.
As part of the project, researchers analysed 68 studies and revealed that suicide attempts were three times more likely for people who experienced sexual abuse as a child, two-and-a-half times more likely for people who experienced physical abuse as a child, and two-and-a-half times more likely for people who experienced emotional abuse or neglect as a child.
"Around one adult in every three has experienced abuse as a child. This study conclusively gives us solid evidence that child abuse and neglect is associated with an increased likelihood that they will be at risk of suicide as adults. And that has important implications for healthcare. Other studies have shown that in the US, for example, the economic burden of child maltreatment is estimated to be around $124 billion," said Maria Panagioti, lead researcher of the study.
The article was published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine. Explaining further, Panagioti asserted, "Current treatment for people with suicidal behaviour usually centres around Cognitive Behavioural 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. So, we need a new approach to identify these people and to focus our efforts on effective community intervention."
According to the team of researchers, these findings not only provided a clear picture of the connection between abuse or neglect in childhood and suicide attempts later on in life but also recognised that effective interventions should take a broader community-based approach.