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Psychiatry Res. 2009 Jan 30;165(1-2):103-10. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.11.013. Epub 2008 Nov 26.

Suicidality and trait aggression related to childhood victimization in patients with alcoholism.

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  • 1Addiction Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary.


The relationship between physical abuse in childhood and suicide attempts in adulthood has long been known. However, the phenomenon has not been examined in patients who are undergoing treatment for alcoholism. In this study we seek an answer to the questions of whether exposure to physical abuse in childhood predisposes to violence, which in turn increases the likelihood of suicidal behavior in adulthood. The sample studied comprised 172 patients with alcohol dependence and with data for childhood physical abuse, trait aggression and lifetime suicide attempts. The measuring instruments used for the investigation were the European Addiction Severity Index, the Buss and Perry Aggression Questionnaire and the Janus Questionnaire. Generalized Linear Model analysis revealed a significant gender-dependent association between physical abuse by the parents suffered in childhood and later suicide attempts. In females, childhood victimization by parents increased the likelihood of suicide attempts by approximately 15 times; in males, the increase was about twofold. Association of suicide attempts with the overall level of trait aggression also significantly interacted with gender. In females, the increase in the level of total scores of the trait aggression from 0 to 50 points (approximately the mean level in the study population) elevated the likelihood of the suicide attempts by almost ninefold, whereas the analogous increase in males was about threefold. The results draw attention to the importance of preventing suicide in clinical populations of alcohol-dependent patients.

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