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Social Work professor publishes research on the disclosure of childhood abuse linked to suicidal ideation

Dr. Philip Baiden
Dr. Philip Baiden

Arlington, TX – Only 6 percent of Canadian adults who were abused when they were children disclosed the abuse to someone from child protection services before age 16 according to a new study from researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Toronto.

The study appears online in the journal The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders.

“We found that among adults who were abused when they were children, 41 percent of those who disclosed the abuse to someone from child protection services compared to 20 percent of those who did not disclose the abuse experienced suicidal ideation later in adulthood,” said lead author Philip Baiden, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, School of Social Work.

The authors also found that controlling for other factors, those who disclosed the abuse to someone from child protection services were more likely to experience suicidal ideation. However, those with adequate social support and a trustworthy person to turn to for advice when having problems were less likely to experience suicidal ideation.

“Our finding adds to recent discussions surrounding sexual abuse and harassment cases and suggests that disclosures that are met with non-supportive, hostile, disbelieving, dismissive, and non-protective response in themselves could be traumatic and could lead to further long-term mental health problems,” said Professor Baiden.

Drawing on a nationally representative sample of Canadians, the researchers examined data from 9,076 adults who experienced at least one child abuse event before age 16. The researchers also found that those who experienced severe physical and sexual abuse before age 16 were two times more likely to experience suicidal ideation.

Other factors associated with suicidal ideation include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, substance dependence, and chronic pain.

“Negative reactions to disclosure may also lead some individuals to question the usefulness of disclosing their abuse to child protection services,” said co-author Kofi-Antwi-Boasiako, who is a PhD student at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

“Feelings of shame and guilt, self-blame, wanting to protect others, threats from the abuser, and fear of negative consequences such as losing one’s family are some reasons why some individuals do not disclose sexual abuse at the time it occurs,” said co-author Barbara Fallon,

Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

Online link to the study: http://www.psychiatrist.com/PCC/article/Pages/2017/v19n06/17m02181.aspx

 

For more information, please contact:

Philip Baiden, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Arlington
Box 19129, 211 S. Cooper Street
Arlington, TX 76019-0129 Email: philip.baiden@uta.edu

News Topics: Research
Tags: Dr. Philip Baiden, abuse, suicide, research