The association of sexual assault and attempted suicide within the community.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Lifetime community rates of attempted suicide were compared between those who reported a history of sexual assault and a control group without such a history. METHODS: The 2918 respondents in the Duke University Epidemiological Catchment Area Study were placed into groups with reported sexual assault (n = 67) and those with no known history of such (n = 2851). Multivariate and bivariate procedures were used to examine the relation between sexual assault and attempted suicide. RESULTS: Subjects reporting a history of sexual assault were more likely to be female, younger, and to report higher rates of lifetime suicide attempt and post-traumatic stress symptoms; no differences were found in the number of chronic medical disorders, major depression, substance abuse or substance dependence, or panic attacks. Nine (14.9%) of the 67 index group subjects reported a suicide attempt, 4 of whom reported their first sexual assault as occurring before age 16 years. A sexual assault history was associated with increased prevalence of lifetime suicide attempt after controlling for sex, age, education, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and psychiatric disorder. Findings were similar in the female-only subsample (n = 1778). For women, the odds of attempting suicide was 3 to 4 times greater when the first reported sexual assault occurred prior to age 16 years compared with age 16 years or older. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual assault is associated with an increased lifetime rate of attempted suicide. In women, a history of sexual trauma before age 16 years is a particularly strong correlate of attempted suicide.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Davidson, JR; Hughes, DC; George, LK; Blazer, DG

Published Date

  • June 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 550 - 555

PubMed ID

  • 8639039

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-990X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830060096013


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States