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Child Abuse Negl. 2005 Jan;29(1):45-58.

Suicidal phenomena and abuse in adolescents: a review of epidemiological studies.

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  • 1Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.



To conduct a systematic review of the international literature to determine whether adolescents who had experienced abuse were more likely to also experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors than other adolescents, and to investigate the nature of this association.


Reports of community- or school-based studies of adolescents on the association between the prevalence of suicidal phenomena and abuse were searched for via electronic databases, reviewing reference lists and contacting experts in the field.


Ten relevant studies were identified. Adolescents who had been physically or sexually abused were significantly more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors than other adolescents. This association appeared to be direct in most studies in which multivariate analyses were conducted. There is evidence that other factors (e.g., low self-esteem) may play a mediating role in the relationship between abuse and suicidal phenomena.


There is a clear link between abuse and suicidal phenomena occurring during childhood and adolescence.

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