International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 213

Full Length Research Paper

Child maltreatment as predictors of suicidal ideas and attempts in a general female population

  Monique Séguin1*, Marc Tourigny2 and Jacques Joly2    
  1Department of Psychology, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Université du Québec en Outaouais; Douglas Hospital, McGill University, Canada. 2Department of Psychoeducation, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 03 September 2012
  •  Published: 30 September 2012



Child maltreatment has been investigated as a suicide risk for decades. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of women from the general population with suicidal ideas or attempts and add to the actual literature a larger perspective of different types of maltreatment in regards to experiences such as neglect, psychological, physical or sexual abuse, and its association to risk factor for suicide ideas and attempts. Data were collected during a telephone survey held between March and April, 2009 among a sample of 1,001 female adult respondents from the province of Quebec (Canada). Questions were selected to investigate childhood maltreatment as a risk factor for probable depression, and actual post-traumatic stress disorders, and suicidal behaviours in the course of their lives. Regression analysis indicates a positive association between sexual abuse and suicidal ideations, as well as a positive association between sexual abuse, psychological abuse, probable depression and suicide attempts. Respondents, who attempted suicide, were two to three times more likely to have experienced the presence of sexual or psychological abuse in the past and four times more likely to have been screened for a probable depression. Interventions that target the early reduction of sexual or psychological abuse, may translate into ulterior reduction in mental health and suicidal behaviours.


Key words: Suicide attempt, suicidal ideas, child maltreatment, neglect, abuse.