Whilst gender and mental health problems are the most important risk factors for contemplating suicide, it is increasingly acknowledged that traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse may be a significant risk factor.
“Childhood sexual abuse is an under-recognised problem in men,” [said Dr Patrick O’Leary, one of the researchers]. “Most of the studies exploring the link with suicide have been in women.
“Men are particularly vulnerable because … many suffer feelings of failure and isolation and think that it is a sign of weakness to discuss their past abuse with others. Men also tend to visit their doctors less frequently, so those who are at risk of suicide often slip under the radar of the healthcare system.
The findings are published in a recent article in the British Journal of Social Work. According to an abstract of the article:
The study draws on a clinical sample of 147 Australian men who were sexually abused in childhood, of whom thirty-nine also gave open-ended interviews, and comparisons are made with a community sample of 1,231 men. It was found that the sexually abused men were up to ten times more likely to report suicidal ideation than the controls.
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