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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Feb 28;185(3):363-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.07.036. Epub 2010 Aug 17.

Childhood physical abuse, aggression, and suicide attempts among criminal offenders.

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University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA.


Childhood physical abuse (CPA) has numerous short and long-term negative effects. One of the most serious consequences of CPA is an increased risk for suicide attempts. Clarifying the mechanisms by which CPA increases risk for suicidal behavior may enhance preventive interventions. One potential mechanism is a tendency toward aggression. In a sample of 266 criminal offenders, ages 18-62, we examined the relationships among CPA, lifetime aggression, and suicide attempts and tested lifetime history of aggression as a mediator of the relationship between CPA and suicide attempts. Results indicated that CPA and aggression were associated with suicide attempts. Consistent with our hypothesis, lifetime aggression mediated the CPA and suicide attempts relationship. Findings suggest that aggression may be an important mediator of the relationship between CPA and suicide attempts among criminal offenders, and are consistent with the possibility that treating aggression may reduce risk for suicide attempts.

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