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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;46(11):1473-81.

Long-term associations of childhood suicide ideation.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam/Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



We investigated in a prospective longitudinal population-based study whether childhood suicide ideation is associated with negative mental health outcome in adulthood.


A total of 1,022 Dutch children who were 11 years or younger in 1983 were prospectively followed over 10 to 14 years into adulthood. Parent reports of suicide ideation in childhood (11 years or younger; n = 20) were examined in relation to mental health in adulthood assessed with a structured psychiatric interview (mood disorder, anxiety disorder, alcohol abuse/dependence, and externalizing disorder) and self-reported suicide ideation and history of suicide attempt.


Childhood suicide ideation was highly predictive of suicide ideation in adulthood (odds ratio 10.70, 95% confidence interval 3.26-35.09), and lifetime history of suicide attempt (odds ratio 5.80, 95% confidence interval 1.53-22.02). Childhood suicide ideation was associated with an increased likelihood of mood disorder and anxiety disorder in adulthood and to a lesser extent externalizing disorder, although these effects decreased considerably after adjusting for childhood internalizing and externalizing behavior.


Suicide ideation in childhood may be a stable characteristic with worrying consequences in adulthood. Children with parent-reported suicide ideation at a young age may require additional resources, age-appropriate intervention, and careful monitoring into adulthood.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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