History of trauma and attempted suicide among women in a primary care setting

Violence Vict. 1998 Spring;13(1):3-9.


The results of past research have demonstrated apparent links between suicidality and a history of sexual abuse or physical abuse. However, the relative predictive power of such abuse histories in explaining sucidality remains unknown, as does the potential relationship between sucidality and emotional abuse, physical neglect, and witnessing violence. In the current study, 151 women who presented for nonemergent medical care indicated whether they had experienced each of five types of abuse and whether they had ever attempted suicide. Similar to past research, increased rates of having attempted suicide were evident among women who had been sexually or physically abused. Rates of past suicide attempts were also higher among those who had experienced emotional abuse or had witnessed violence. However, many women indicated having experienced multiple forms of trauma. In a multivariate analysis, only sexual abuse and physical abuse were uniquely predictive of having attempted suicide. Results are discussed with regard to the potential importance of bodily intrusiveness during abuse as most predictive of subsequent suicidality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*