Relationship of childhood trauma to age of first suicide attempt and number of attempts in substance dependent patients

Authors


Alec Roy MD, Psychiatry Service 116A, Department of Veterans Affairs, New Jersey Healthcare System, 385 Tremont Avenue, East Orange, NJ 07018, USA
E-mail: alec.roy@med.va.gov

Abstract

Objective:  To examine whether childhood trauma effect the age of first attempting suicide and the number of attempts.

Method:  One thousand twelve hundred and eighty substance dependent patients were interviewed about whether or not they had ever attempted suicide, the age of first attempt and the number of attempts. Patients completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire – 34 item version.

Results:  Five hundred and thirty-eight patients (42%) had attempted suicide. Significantly more of the patients who had attempted suicide were female. Patients who had made three or more attempts had significantly higher childhood trauma scores than patients who had made two attempts, who had higher scores than patients who had made one attempt, who had higher scores than patients who had never attempted. Patients who first attempted suicide before the age of 20 years had significantly higher childhood trauma scores than patients who first attempted after 20 years of age.

Conclusion:  Childhood trauma may be a determinant of the age of onset of suicidal behavior and of the number of suicide attempts.

Ancillary