Suicide Method Runs in Families: A Birth Certificate Cohort Study of Adolescent Suicide in Taiwan

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Abstract

Suicide method used by adolescents was examined to determine if it was the same as that employed by their suicidal parents. Six hundred eighty adolescents completed suicide between 1997 and 2007, of whom 12 had parents who had previously died by suicide. The suicide method used by these adolescents was compared with that employed by their suicidal parent and that of a matched peer control adolescent with no exposure to parental suicide and living in the same area. In 10 of the 12 suicidal parent–adolescent dyads, the same suicide method was employed by parent and adolescent. Of seven adolescents whose age at parental suicide was 15 years or above, six used the same suicide method as their suicidal parent had. On the contrary, of 12 exposure–nonexposure suicidal adolescent dyads, the same method was used in only four. Adolescents exposed to parental suicide are more likely to use the suicide method employed by their suicidal parents than the method used by adolescent peers with no exposure to parental suicide.

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