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Public Health


Wen Hung Koo


Children are the cornerstone of the community as well as the future of society. Child abuse and suicide among the young population is a serious and prevalent problem. Through a number of survey studies undertaken in other countries including Canada, United States, and Australia, researchers demonstrated that child abuse was related to suicidal behavior. However, this association had not been examined in Hong Kong. However, the number of hospital admissions for child abuse in Hong Kong had increased from 15.6 to 61.9 per 100,000 between 1995 and 2015 and 3.7% of child abuse cases had previously recorded suicide attempts. This study aimed to identify the association between child abuse and suicide attempts compared with influenza infection using electronic hospital admission records. From January 1, 1995 to July 31, 2016, patients with admission age < 18 years with the diagnosis of child abuse or influenza infection were included in this study (n = 54,256). The study also retrieved data on suicide attempt hospital admissions after the first hospital admission from the database. The study results demonstrate that the adjusted hazard ratio indicated that at any given point of time, child abuse subjects had 4.79 times higher risk (95% CI 3.88 to 5.92) of attempting suicide compared with influenza infected subjects. The hazard ratio for sexual abuse and physical abuse compared with the influenza infected group was 6.48 (95% CI 4.56 to 9.19) and 4.83 (95% CI 3.67 to 6.34). Study results indicated that there was a significant association between child abuse and suicide attempts in Hong Kong. If confirmed, the study results may inform policy and interventions to reduce child abuse and consequently child suicide attempts.

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