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Child Abuse Negl. 2013 Nov;37(11):986-96. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.06.006. Epub 2013 Jul 27.

Child abuse and suicidal ideation among adolescents in China.

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  • 1Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


The present study examined the relationship among physical abuse, psychological abuse, perceived family functioning and adolescent suicidal ideation in Shanghai, China. Perceived family functioning was investigated as a possible moderator between physical abuse, psychological abuse and suicidal ideation. A cross sectional survey using convenience sampling was conducted. A total of 560 valid self-administered questionnaires were completed by the students aged from 12 to 17 in Shanghai. Descriptive statistical analyses, Pearson correlations analyses, and hierarchical regression analyses were adopted as methods of data analyses. Results indicated that physical abuse was significantly associated with greater adolescent suicidal ideation, while a higher level of perceived family functioning was significantly associated with lower suicidal ideation. However, psychological abuse was not associated with suicidal ideation. Perceived family functioning was shown to be a moderator between physical abuse and suicidal ideation. Specifically, mutuality and family communication moderated the relationship between physical abuse and suicidal ideation. To decrease adolescent suicidal ideation, measures are suggested to prevent physical abuse and enhance family functioning. First, it is important to increase the parents' awareness of the meaning and boundaries of physical abuse, as well as the role it plays in contributing to adolescent suicidal ideation. Second, parents should be taught appropriate parenting skills and knowledge and be guided to treat the children as individuals with their unique personality, rights and privileges. Third, it is important to promote family harmony, effective communication as well as mutual trust, concern and understanding among family members.


Adolescents; Chinese; Family functioning; Physical abuse; Psychological abuse; Suicidal ideation

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