There is evidence that individuals emotionally abused as children endorse more hopelessness, a precursor of suicidal behavior in adulthood. However, there has been little focus on this association among African-Americans or on factors that may mediate the childhood emotional abuse (CEA)–adult hopelessness link. The present study examined whether CEA is linked to hopelessness in adulthood in African-American women suicide attempters and if adult self and other attachment models mediate this association. Participants included 116 African-American women recruited from a large, urban hospital. Results revealed that CEA had no direct effect on hopelessness in adulthood, but did have an indirect effect on hopelessness through attachment models. Bootstrapping analyses showed that higher levels of CEA were related to more negative self and other attachment models, which were then linked to higher levels of hopelessness. Implications for targeting attachment in suicide intervention programs are discussed.
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- emotional abuse