Childhood adversities as risk factors for onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour

Ronny Bruffaerts, Koen Demyttenaere, Guilherme Borges, Josep Maria Haro, Wai Tat Chiu, Irving Hwang, Elie G. Karam, Ronald C. Kessler, Nancy Sampson, Jordi Alonso, Laura Helena Andrade, Matthias Angermeyer, Corina Benjet, Evelyn Bromet, Giovanni De Girolamo, Ron De Graaf, Silvia Florescu, Oye Gureje, Itsuko Horiguchi, Chiyi HuViviane Kovess, Daphna Levinson, Jose Posada-Villa, Rajesh Sagar, Kate Scott, Adley Tsang, Svetlozar M. Vassilev, David R. Williams, Matthew K. Nock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, but the precise effect of childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour (suicide ideation, plans and attempts) are not well understood. Aims: To examine the associations between childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour across 21 countries worldwide. Method: Respondents from nationally representative samples (n = 55 299) were interviewed regarding childhood adversities that occurred before the age of 18 years and lifetime suicidal behaviour. Results: Childhood adversities were associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt and ideation in both bivariate and multivariate models (odds ratio range 1.2-5.7). The risk increased with the number of adversities experienced, but at a decreasing rate. Sexual and physical abuse were consistently the strongest risk factors for both the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour, especially during adolescence. Associations remained similar after additional adjustment for respondents' lifetime mental disorder status. Conclusions: Childhood adversities (especially intrusive or aggressive adversities) are powerful predictors of the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume197
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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