Population-attributable risk of childhood sexual abuse for symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation in adulthood

Robert D. Goldney, Eleonora Dal Grande, Anne Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. The aim of the study was to assess the population-attributable risks (PAR) of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) for depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation in adulthood. Method. A total of 2501 adult participants were randomly recruited and interviewed using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. They responded to items designed to assess depressive symptoms (SF-12), suicidal ideation (GHQ-28), and other distressing events, including CSA, as part of a broader, mental health survey of the South Australian population. Results. Logistic regression analyses indicated that CSA was associated with both depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. However, PAR estimates indicated that only 0.8% of depressive symptoms could be attributed to CSA. Similarly, only 2.2% of suicidal ideation in the population could be attributed to CSA. Conclusions. Notwithstanding the individual distress associated with CSA, a population perspective indicated that the impact of CSA in adulthood was not as great as one might interpret from media reports.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-291
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 11 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Population-attributable risk
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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