Parent's suicide attempt tied to increased risk in kids

( ) Updated: 2015-01-04 15:19:28

Children whose father or mother has a suicide attempt have a nearly five times increased risk of attempting suicide compared to those whose parents has no such histories, a U.S. study said Tuesday.

Previous studies have established that suicidal behavior can run in families but few studies have looked at the pathways by which suicidal behavior is transmitted in families.

David Brent of the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues studied 701 children aged 10 to 50 years of 334 parents with mood disorders, of whom 191 had also made a suicide attempt.

Of the 701 offspring, 44 had made a suicide attempt before participating in the study and 29 attempted suicide during the study's six-year follow-up period.

The study showed "a direct effect" of a parent's suicide attempt on a suicide attempt by their child, even after researchers took into account a history of previous suicide attempt by the offspring and a familial transmission of mood disorder.

"In this high-risk longitudinal study, we found that parental suicide attempt conveyed a nearly 5-fold increased risk of offspring attempt, even controlling for the familial transmission of mood disorder," said the study. "Impulsive aggression was an important precursor of mood disorder and could be targeted in interventions designed to prevent youth at high familial risk from making a suicide attempt."

The findings were published online in the U.S. journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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