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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Oct;33(8):1087-97.

Suicidal children grow up: suicidal behavior and psychiatric disorders among relatives.

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  • 1Cornell University Medical College, NY.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This paper reports comprehensive data on psychiatric symptoms and disorders and medical problems of first- and second-degree biological relatives of prepubertal children who have contemplated or attempted suicide.

METHOD:

Standard family study and family history interview techniques were used to obtain information about psychopathology and medical illness in 488 first- and 1,062 second-degree relatives of 25 child psychiatric inpatients who reported suicide attempts, 28 child psychiatric inpatients who contemplated suicide, 16 nonsuicidal child inpatients, and 54 normal children.

RESULTS:

Suicidal behavior in children was associated with suicidal behavior in their families, although no first-degree relatives committed suicide. More first-degree relatives of child suicide attempters, compared to first-degree relatives of normal children, had antisocial personality disorder, assaultive behavior, and substance abuse. Mood disorders in first-degree relatives were not associated with child suicidal behavior. No significant associations were identified for psychopathology of second-degree relatives and child suicidal behavior.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest the importance of evaluating familial psychopathology during assessments of suicidal children. Self-directed and externally directed violence, antisocial personality disorder, and substance abuse of relatives of suicidal children should be studied to elucidate the etiology of youth suicidal behavior.

PMID:
7982859
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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