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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2001 Winter;31(4):405-15.

Childhood maltreatment and college students' current suicidal ideation: a test of the hopelessness theory.

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Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122-6085, USA.


Few studies have examined the relation between childhood maltreatment and adult suicidality within the context of a coherent theoretical model. The current study evaluates the ability of the hopelessness theory of depression's (Abramson, Metalsky, & Alloy, 1989) etiological chain to account for this relation in a sample of 297 undergraduates. Supporting the model, emotional, but not physical or sexual, maltreatment was uniquely related to average levels of suicidal ideation across a 2.5-year follow-up. Further, students' cognitive styles and average levels of hopelessness partially mediated this relation. Although these results cannot speak to causality, they support the developmental model evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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