Suicidal Tendency Is Five Times Higher In Children Whose Parents Committed Suicide

We have all lost a loved one, but death is particularly harsh on those who have experienced someone close commit suicide. Children who experienced their parents commit suicide are more likely to be depressed and follow the same path as their parents.

The latest research published in the journal, JAMA psychiatry, by the researchers of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, decided to find how much the trauma of such a tragic occurrence can affect the children, and if this trauma could lead to suicidal tendencies.

The researchers led by Dr. David A. Brent, assessed the 334 patients suffering from various mood disorders. Out of all of them 191 patient attempted suicide. The children of these patients were assessed as well for an average of 5.6 years through self reported questionnaires. Assessment through structured psychiatric assessments was a must to see if the children suffered from any psychiatric illness.

“In fact, impulsive aggression played an important role in increasing the likelihood of an offspring suicide attempt, but it did so by increasing the risk of the subsequent development of a mood disorder, which in turn increased the risk of an attempt,” said the researchers.

Of 701 children, 44 had admitted that they had attempted suicide prior to the start of the study, 29 of them had attempted suicide during the study period. And on follow up, 19 children admitted to have made a second suicide attempt. The study revealed that there was almost a five-fold increase in suicidal attempts in the children who had endured this trauma.

Also noteworthy was the fact that, as these children grew up, the incidence of depression increased as well. At the start of the study, the rate of depression was 29.6% which increased to 48.2% in a span of 1-2 years. Depression is one of the prime factors of suicide.

“The transition from impulsive aggression to mood disorder may be particularly salient to understanding recurrent suicidal behavior because this pathway from offspring suicide attempt at baseline to an attempt at follow-up was mediated by offspring impulsive aggression and mood disorder,”  said the researchers.

Based on this data, the researchers have proposed that special care should be given to these children to ensure a decrease in suicidal tendency and ultimately rate. Correct intervention may lead to a net decrease in the incidence of suicide among children.

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