Children who experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are significantly more likely to attempt suicide in later life, a study has found.
The analysis of 68 studies by psychologists at the University of Manchester and University of South Wales in the UK showed that suicide attempts were three times more likely for people who experienced sexual abuse as a child.
People who experienced physical abuse as a child were two and a half times more likely to attempt suicide.
The research, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, also showed that children who experienced multiple abuse are as much as five times higher to attempt suicide.
As the people who experienced abuse as children get older, the risk of suicide attempts increases, researchers said.
People not in contact with mental health clinicians were found to be at the highest level of risk.
The sixty-eight studies were carried out across the world, producing about 262 thousand adults aged 18 years or older, who were exposed to childhood abuse and neglect.
"Around one adult in every three has experienced abuse as a child," said Maria Panagioti, from The University of Manchester, who led the research team.
"This study conclusively gives us solid evidence that childhood abuse and neglect is associated with increased likelihood that they will be at risk of suicide as adults," said Panagioti.
"And that has important implications on healthcare. Other studies have shown that in the US, for example, the economic burden of childhood maltreatment is estimated to be around USD 124 billion," she said.
"These findings not only provided a clear picture of the connection between abuse or neglect in childhood and suicide attempts later on in life, but also recognised that efficient interventions should take a broader community-based approach," said Ioannis Angelakis from the University of South Wales.
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