Further evidence linking suicide risk to family history (p 1126)

October 10, 2002

A Danish study in this week's issue of THE LANCET provides further evidence linking a family history of psychiatric illness and suicide to increased suicide risk--the study also shows how a family history of suicide and psychiatric illness act independently and are not influenced by socio-economic factors.

Previous research has highlighted a clustering of suicidal behaviour among families. Ping Qin and colleagues from Aarhus University, Denmark, assessed whether family history of completed suicide and mental illness that results in admission to hospital were risk factors for suicide, and whether these factors interact.

Using data from four Danish longitudinal registers, the investigators identified 4262 people who had committed suicide aged 9-45 years during 1981-97, and 80,238 matched controls.

Individuals with a history of family suicide were two and a half times more likely to commit suicide than people without a family history of suicide; correspondingly, a family history of psychiatric illness (requiring hospital admission) increased suicide risk by around 50%, but only for individuals who did not have a psychiatric history. A history of family suicide and psychiatric history were independent risk factors for suicide, but the effect was strongest when they were combined.

Ping Qin comments: "With respect to attributable risk, we have shown that a family suicide history and family psychiatric history accounted for 2.25% and 6.80% of suicides, respectively. These estimates were made after adjustment for other risk factors and would be larger if exposures in other relatives, family history of suicide attempts, and family history of psychiatric disorders that did not result in admission to hospital had been included."

She concludes: "The inclusion of familial suicidal history in the assessment of suicide risk is important, even though people with a family history of suicide are only a small proportion of the total number of people who commit suicide. Also, the importance of family psychiatric history should not be disregarded, because it can help to identify people vulnerable to mental disorders associated with suicide. These factors might be essential in prevention programmes targeting adolescents and young adults, and might apply to the general population."
Contact: Dr Ping Qin, National Center for Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Taasingegade 1,DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark; T) +45 8942 6803; F) +45 8942 6813; E) pq@ncrr.dk


Related Suicide Articles from Brightsurf:

Suicide prevention in COVID-19 era
COVID-19 presents a new and urgent opportunity to focus political will, federal investments, and global community on the vital imperative of suicide prevention.

Racial discrimination linked to suicide
New research findings from the University of Houston indicate that racial discrimination is so painful that it is linked to the ability to die by suicide, a presumed prerequisite for being able to take one's own life, and certain mental health tools - like reframing an incident - can help.

Factors associated with firearm suicide risk
Researchers compared the risk of suicide by firearm based on sociodemographic characteristics of US adults.

Suicide mortality and COVID-19
Reasons why U.S. suicide rates may rise in tandem with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are explained in this article that also describes opportunities to expand research and care.

Media reports of celebrity suicide linked to increased suicide rates
Media reporting of suicide, especially celebrity suicides, is associated with increases in suicide in the general population, particularly by the same method as used by the celebrity, finds an analysis of the latest evidence published by The BMJ today.

More youth suicide found in poor communities across US
A study led by Jennifer Hoffmann, M.D., from Ann & Robert H.

BU study finds new factors linked to suicide
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds that physical illness and injury raises the risk of suicide in men but not women, along with a plethora of other insights into the complex factors that may increase a person's risk of suicide.

Investigating the full spectrum of suicide
A recent study published in Injury Prevention described a method for categorizing self-injury mortality (SIM) to help us better examine national trends for today's epidemics of suicide and drug-related deaths.

Between 16 and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide
Thinking of taking one's own life (ideation), planning it, threatening to do it or even attempting to do it is regarded as suicidal behaviour.

Social networks and suicide prevention
Depression and mental health problems are increasing - and suicide and drug overdose rates are rising dramatically in the USA.

Read More: Suicide News and Suicide Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.