Early exposure to emotional violence “significantly” increases the chances that youths will contemplate suicide, according to new research from three countries conducted by Washington University in St. Louis’ Brown School.
“We find the odds of suicide ideation are consistently and significantly greater for adolescents who report overexposure to emotional violence,” said Lindsay Stark, associate professor and co-author of the study “A Sex-disaggregated Analysis of How Emotional Violence Relates to Suicide Ideation in Low- and Middle-income Countries,” published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.
Stark and Seff reviewed national data drawn from 9,300 adolescents and young adults aged 13-24 in the Violence Against Children Surveys, a collaborative effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, country governments and other bilateral and multilateral organizations.
They collected surveys from Haiti, Kenya and Tanzania containing detailed information on young people’s experiences with physical, emotional and sexual violence, as well as their mental health and well-being.
The analysis suggests that mental health practitioners should offer suicide prevention programs to those with a history of emotional abuse.
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