Protective factors and suicide risk in adolescents with a history of sexual abuse.

Marla E. Eisenberg, Diann M. Ackard, Michael D. Resnick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    81 Scopus citations


    OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that certain protective factors will reduce the risk of suicide behaviors in youth who are sexually abused. STUDY DESIGN: Survey data come from 83,731 students in the 6th, 9th, and 12th grades in Minnesota. Four childhood sexual abuse groups were created: a) no history of sexual abuse; b) abuse by non-family member; c) abuse by family member; and d) abuse by both. Dependent variables included suicidal ideation and attempts. Four protective factors included: family connectedness, teacher caring, other adult caring, and school safety. Logistic regression was used in detecting differences in suicide behaviors across the 4 childhood sexual abuse categories. RESULTS: Four percent of students reported sexual abuse by a non-family member, 1.3% by a family member, and 1.4% by both. Although youth with a history of childhood sexual abuse were at increased risk for suicide behaviors compared with other youth, when protective factors were accounted for, the predicted probabilities of suicide behaviors for childhood sexual abuse youth were substantially reduced. Family connectedness was the strongest of the 4 protective factors. CONCLUSION: Modifying select protective factors, particularly family connectedness, may reduce suicide risk in adolescents with childhood sexual abuse.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)482-487
    Number of pages6
    JournalThe Journal of pediatrics
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Nov 2007

    Bibliographical note

    This record is sourced from MEDLINE/PubMed, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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