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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;52(2):176-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02298.x. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Young people's risk of suicide attempts in relation to parental death: a population-based register study.

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1
Department of Political Science, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. isj@sam.sdu.dk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objective of this study was to examine the association between the death of a biological parent and subsequent suicide attempts by young people (aged 10-22 years), and to explore sociodemographic factors as modifying factors in the process.

METHODS:

The study used a nested case-control design. The full study population was obtained from the Danish longitudinal registers and included all individuals born between 1983 and 1989 (n = 403,431 individuals). The 3,465 registered suicide attempters from that group were matched with 75,300 population-based control subjects. Potentially confounding variables including age and gender were controlled for by conditional logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS:

The findings indicated that young people who had lost one biological parent showed a significantly increased risk of attempting suicide (relative risk = 1.71, 95% confidence interval = 1.49-1.96). Losing the remaining parent nearly doubled the risk (relative risk = 2.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.48-5.06).

CONCLUSION:

Experiencing the death of one or both biological parents increased the risk of suicide attempts in young people. Relative risk was moderated by high income of the father.

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