Familial Risk of Early Suicide: Variations by Age and Sex of Children and Parents

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To determine familial risk of early suicide, data on cause of death of all Dutch residents aged 20–55 years who died between 1995 and 2001 were linked to data of their parents. Men whose father died by suicide had a higher odds of suicide themselves, relative to men whose father died of other causes (Odds Ratio (OR): 2.5; 95% confidence interval: 1.8-3.6). This effect was slightly stronger in the case of mother's suicide (OR: 3.4; 2.3–5.0). The same effect was observed for women, for suicide by father (OR: 2.2; 1.3–3.7) and mother (OR: 4.6; 2.6–8.0). The odds of suicide increased with decreasing age at death of parent. Parental suicide is predictive for offspring suicide. Our data suggest that the predictive value is higher in case the mother died by suicide, particularly if the mother died by suicide at a young age§

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