Victims of child abuse may be at increased risk of acting on suicide ideation, although this has not been empirically tested. We estimated the risk of suicide attempts associated with child abuse among individuals who reported suicide ideation.
Secondary analysis of data from the population-based Canadian Community Health Survey Mental Health (n = 828). This population-based survey included various structured questionnaires, including the Composite International Diagnostic Interview to assess mental illness and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Approximately 80 % of those who attempted suicide had a history of child abuse. Poor mental health, financial difficulties, poor coping skills, and reporting a suicide plan were also associated with an increased prevalence of attempting suicide; adjusted for these factors, child abuse was associated with a 1.77-fold increased prevalence (95 % CI 0.93, 3.36) of suicide attempts.
Most individuals who attempt suicide experience child abuse, and worse health and social functioning. Adopting a life-course perspective to understand trajectories of suicide risk factors may inform prevention and treatment.