Childhood trauma and risk for past and future suicide attempts among women in prison

Kristen Clements-Nolle, Matthew Wolden, Jessey Bargmann-Losche
Women's Health Issues: Official Publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health 2009, 19 (3): 185-92

PURPOSE: We sought to determine whether childhood trauma is an independent risk factor for past suicide attempts and the future likelihood of attempts among women in prison.

METHODS: A random sample of 247 women incarcerated in a state prison in Las Vegas, Nevada, completed a confidential interview that included the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, the 18-item Brief Symptom Inventory, standard measures of illicit drug use, and the revised Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression models were developed to evaluate the independent influence of cumulative childhood trauma on past suicide attempts with intent to die and the future likelihood of suicide attempts.

RESULTS: Childhood trauma was frequently reported by female prisoners: emotional abuse (58%), physical abuse (54%), sexual abuse (51%), emotional neglect (53%), and physical neglect (41%). Factors independently associated with past suicide attempts included having a higher childhood trauma score (p < .001), a higher psychological distress score (p=.005), and longer duration of current incarceration (> or =5 years; p=.003). Childhood trauma (p=.05), psychological distress (p < .001), and lack of legal employment before incarceration (p=.05) were independent risk factors for future likelihood of attempting suicide.

CONCLUSIONS: Childhood trauma is an independent risk factor for attempted suicide among women in prison that persists into adulthood and cannot fully be attributed to psychological distress, illicit drug use, or incarceration duration. Addressing the emotional impact of childhood trauma among female prisoners may increase the effectiveness of correctional suicide prevention efforts.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"