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Can J Psychiatry. 1998 Oct;43(8):793-800.

Childhood sexual and physical abuse and adult self-harm and suicidal behaviour: a literature review.

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Inpatient Mental Health Services, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.


This article reviews the link between childhood sexual and/or physical abuse and adult self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempt from 1988 to 1998 in the clinical literature. Despite the methodological and definitional concerns, empirical studies have generally demonstrated more reports of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behaviour in clinical and community populations of adults who report sexual and/or physical abuse in childhood than in comparison groups who do not report abuse. Implications for practice include the identification of populations at risk for self-harm or suicide and routine inquiry of abuse histories on admission. Further research into universal definitions of the key terms, standardized measurements of the variables, and longitudinal studies is required.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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