Year: 2013 Source: Child Abuse & Neglect.(2013).37(5):310Ð319. SIEC No: 20130639

Objective Little is known about the magnitude and consequences of violence against children for those living outside family care. We sought to estimate the frequency of childhood abuse and examine its association with lifetime pregnancy involvement (LPI) and past year suicide ideation among orphaned youth. Methods We analyzed data collected via cross-sectional interviewer-administered surveys completed by 293 orphaned youth aged 16Ð23 years living outside of family care in St. Petersburg, Russia. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of LPI and past year suicide ideation associated with childhood physical and sexual abuse. Other risk factors were also examined (e.g., social vulnerability, sexual and substance use behaviors), and characteristics of orphaned youth with LPI and past year suicide ideation were described. Results The prevalence of childhood abuse was higher among females than among males (23.3% versus 15.6% for physical abuse, and 20.3% versus 5.6% for sexual abuse), as was the prevalence of LPI and past year suicide ideation among those with histories of abuse. Experiences of childhood abuse were strong risk factors for both LPI and past year suicide ideation, with significant variation by gender. While both types of abuse were significantly associated with LPI and past year suicide ideation among females, physical abuse was significantly associated with LPI and sexual abuse was associated with suicide ideation for males. Of the other characteristics examined, strong modifiable risk factors included having no one to turn to for help and no involvement in activities outside of class. Among those with LPI (n = 36), nearly 20% had been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant ≥2 times, most (61.8%) reported at least one induced abortion, and current use of effective contraception was nearly non-existent. Among those with past year suicide ideation (n = 30), nearly half (44.8%) reported attempting suicide. Conclusions There is an urgent need for interventions to prevent and mitigate the negative influence of childhood abuse experiences. Programs providing services to orphaned youth should increase access to sexual education, effective contraceptives, and mental health counseling.