Document Type

Article

Publication Date

November 1999

Journal or Book Title

Comprehensive Psychiatry

Volume

40

Issue

6

Abstract

The study objective was to examine correlates of suicide risk in psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents with a reported history of childhood abuse. Predictors of suicide risk were examined in 74 subjects who reported a history of childhood abuse and 53 depressed subjects who did not report a history of childhood abuse. Subjects completed a battery of psychometrically well-established self-report instruments to assess childhood abuse, suicide risk, and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology. Correlational analyses showed that higher levels of depression, self-criticism, and hopelessness were significantly associated with suicide risk in both study groups and violence was significantly associated with suicide risk in the childhood abuse group. For the childhood abuse group, multiple regression analyses with seven predictor variables accounted for 54% of the variance in suicide risk; depression and alcohol problems made significant independent contributions, while violence and self-criticism were independent predictors at the trend level. For the depressed/nonabused group, multiple regression analyses with the seven predictor variables accounted for 60% of the variance in suicide risk; depression, hopelessness, and self-criticism were independent predictors. Our findings suggest that both internalizing (i.e., depression or self-criticism) and externalizing (i.e., violence or alcohol) factors predict suicide risk in adolescent inpatients who report childhood abuse. This profile appears different from the more internalizing pattern (i.e., depression, self-criticism, and hopelessness) observed for the depressed adolescent inpatients who reported no history of childhood abuse.