A new study has found that a suicide attempt by a parent increased the odds nearly fivefold that a child would attempt suicide.
For the study, David A. Brent, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and his colleagues followed the children of parents with mood disorders for an average of nearly six years.
The study included 701 children between the ages of 10 to 50 of 334 parents with mood disorders. About 57 percent — or 191 of the parents — had also made a suicide attempt, according to the study’s findings.
Of the 701 children, 44 — or 6.3 percent — had made a suicide attempt before participating in the study while 29 — 4.1 percent — attempted suicide during the study follow-up, the researchers reported.
The researchers said they found a direct effect of a parent’s suicide attempt on a suicide attempt by their child, even after they took into account a history of previous suicide attempts by the children and a familial transmission of mood disorder.
“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 researchers conclude in the study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry.