The British Journal of Psychiatry


Of a sample of families containing abused and at risk children, in 29 per cent one or both parents had attempted suicide. The rate at which the suicide attempts were repeated within a year was higher than that expected for other attempters of the same age group. A previous history of psychiatric disturbance and marital breakdown was strongly associated with the combination of child abuse and suicidal behaviour. The relationship between child abuse and attempted suicide did not appear in most cases to have been a direct one; often both forms of behaviour seemed to reflect marital difficulties.