Originally posted on April 26, 2015
According to a recent study, one in three boys who experience sexual abuse attempt suicide. Laura Anderson conducted the study to see what impact weight and sexual violence had on children attempting suicide. While she found no correlation between the two, she did discover that abused children are more likely to attempt suicide than their non-abused peers:
The study analyzed data from a Youth and Risk Behavior Survey that sampled more than 31,000 teenagers in 2009 and 2011. The research continued a preliminary study from 2011 that found similar results using a smaller sample of teens.
The poll surveyed students ages 14 to 18 and examined whether the two variables influenced suicide attempts within a year of the survey.
For boys, the study found:
3.5 percent of healthy-weight males with no sexual assault history attempted suicide. That percentage climbed to 33.2 percent for healthy-weight males with sexual assault history, which Anderson attributes to stigma, shame, possible gender role conflict if the attacker was male and the lack of an open support system. Weight alone was not a significant factor in suicide attempts for males. Only 3.9 percent of overweight males with no sexual assault history attempted suicide. For males who were both overweight and had a history of sexual assault, the percentage who attempted suicide was 33 percent.
For girls, the results were:
5.8 percent of healthy-weight females with no sexual assault history attempted suicide. The percentage rose to 27.1 percent for healthy-weight girls with a history of sexual assault. Weight influenced the suicide rate among women: 8.2 percent of overweight girls with no sexual assault history attempt suicide. However, both factors did not increase suicide rate: 26.6 percent of overweight girls with sexual assault histories attempted suicide.