According to a recent meta-analysis published in the journal Psychological Medicine, children experiencing physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect have a significantly increased likelihood of attempting suicide in later life.
Psychologists at the University of Manchester and University of South Wales conducted a meta-analysis of 68 studies, which included ~2,62,000 adults exposed to childhood abuse and neglect.
The findings showed that sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse/neglect in childhood were associated with a 3-fold, 2.5-fold and 2.5-fold higher likelihood of suicide attempts in later life. It was also found that children who underwent multiple abuses were as much as 5-times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk for suicide attempts went up as the age at abuse increased. The risk for suicide attempts was highest in children who were not under the care of mental health professionals.
According to Dr. Maria Panagioti from The University of Manchester, a new approach is needed to identify children who are not under the care of clinicians and a greater focus on providing an effective community intervention.