Intergenerational Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence as Familial Risk Factors for Lifetime Attempted Suicide Among Battered Women

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This study examines the impact of two factors, intergenerational substance abuse and exposure to domestic violence, on the lifetime attempted suicide histories of adult, minority, battered women residing in a domestic violence shelter. A total of 122 women, mostly African American and Latina, were interviewed to obtain their retrospective reports of the frequency and use of substances and on the incidences of domestic violence among their immediate (first-degree) and extended (second-degree) family members. Results revealed that battered women with a history of suicide attempts (n = 45) were more likely to report substance abuse among both first-degree (specifically fathers) and second-degree relatives than were women without such suicide attempt histories (n = 77). Attempters were also more likely to report witnessing the physical abuse of their mothers. The multiple impacts of the extended family are discussed in light of these findings.



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