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Effects of perpetrator identity on suicidality and nonsuicidal self-injury in sexually victimized female adolescents

Authors Unlu G, Cakaloz B

Received 3 April 2016

Accepted for publication 27 April 2016

Published 21 June 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1489—1497


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Gulsen Unlu, Burcu Cakaloz

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey

Purpose: Child sexual abuse and sexual dating violence victimization are common problems that are known to have long-term negative consequences. This study aimed to compare the sociodemographic, abuse-related, and clinical features of female adolescents who were sexually abused by different perpetrators, and identify the factors associated with suicidality and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in these cases.
Patients and methods: Data of 254 sexually abused female adolescents between the ages of 12–18 years were evaluated. The cases were classified into three groups, namely “sexual dating violence”, “incest”, and “other child sexual abuse”, according to the identity of the perpetrator. The three groups were compared in terms of sociodemographic, abuse-related, and clinical features.
Results: Major depressive disorder was the most common psychiatric diagnosis, which was present in 44.9% of the cases. Among all victims, 25.6% had attempted suicide, 52.0% had suicidal ideation, and 23.6% had NSSI during the postabuse period. A logistic regression analysis revealed that attempted suicide was predicted by dating violence victimization (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] =3.053; 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.473, 6.330) and depression (AOR =2.238; 95% CI =1.226, 4.086). Dating violence victimization was also the strongest predictor of subsequent suicidal ideation (AOR =3.500; 95% CI =1.817, 6.741). In addition, revictimization was determined to be an important risk factor for both suicidal ideation (AOR =2.897; 95% CI =1.276, 6.574) and NSSI (AOR =3.847; 95% CI =1.899, 7.794).
Conclusion: Perpetrator identity and revictimization are associated with negative mental health outcomes in sexually victimized female adolescents. Increased risk of suicidality and NSSI should be borne in mind while assessing cases with dating violence and revictimization histories, in particular.

sexual abuse, dating violence, incest, mental health, suicide, self-harm

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