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Child Maltreat. 2014 Feb;19(1):17-26. doi: 10.1177/1077559514525503. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Suicidality among preadolescent maltreated children in foster care.

Author information

1
Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, CO, USA.

Abstract

This study sought to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among 515 preadolescent (aged 9-11 years) maltreated children who entered foster care within the prior year. Over a quarter (26.4%) of the children had a history of suicidality according to their own and/or their caregiver's report, 4.1% of whom were imminently suicidal. In bivariate analyses, children at higher risk of suicidality tended to be younger, non-Hispanic, abused, and to have experienced multiple types of maltreatment, more referrals to child welfare, more household transitions, and a longer length of time in foster care. There were no gender differences. Multiple regression analyses found physical abuse and chronicity of maltreatment to be the most robust predictors of suicidality. It is critically important that these high-risk children are screened for suicidality before adolescence and that caregivers and professionals are informed of their risk status so that they may implement mental health treatment, monitoring, and harm reduction measures.

KEYWORDS:

child maltreatment; foster care; preadolescent; screening; suicide

PMID:
24567247
PMCID:
PMC4319651
DOI:
10.1177/1077559514525503
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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