It is validating to read research findings that confirm what good clinicians already know. On November 28, 2007, Reuters reported on a study in the November, 2007 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics which found that teenagers with a history of sexual abuse have a highter rate of suicidal ideas and attempts than teens without this history, but that the risk factor of sexual abuse is offset if the teen has the protective factor of "family connectedness" that is, a loving and caring family that is supportive in a nonjudgmental way. Here is part of what is written in the Reuters article:
However, having positive relationships with adults seemed to reduce some of this risk, the study found. Abused teens who said they had teachers or other adults in their lives who cared about them were less likely to report suicidal behavior.
The most important protective factor was a sense of family connectedness -- which the study measured by asking teens the extent to which they felt their families cared about and understood them, and whether they could discuss their problems with their parents.
"If connections with family members, teachers or other school personnel, or other adults in the community were strong, young people had a much lower risk of suicide, even if they were particularly vulnerable due to sexual abuse," Eisenberg said.
The implication, she and her colleagues write, is that strengthening these connections for abused teenagers could help lower their suicide risk.