OTTAWA – Almost one-third of Canadians experienced physical or sexual abuse at home during childhood, according to a study that warned of a link to mental disorders and suicide.
Tracie Afifi of the University of Manitoba led the research into data on mental health from 2012 covering 23,395 participants.
According to their study, 32 percent of adult Canadians experienced child abuse. Men were more likely to have been physically abused, while sexual abuse was more common in women. Even the least severe types of physical abuse — being slapped or “spanked with something hard” — were associated with mental disorders and thoughts of suicide.
Eating disorders remained associated with only physical abuse, and post-traumatic stress and learning disabilities were linked to sexual abuse. Cases of bipolar disorder were traced back to a parent or guardian exposing themselves to the child.