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Offspring of suicide attempters at greater risk of suicide events

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Dr Brent

Correspondence to: Dr Brent, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA;



What are the predictors of new-onset suicidal behaviour in offspring of parents with mood disorders?


365 offspring of 203 parents with a history of mood disorder. Average age of offspring was 20.2 years. Exclusion criteria: previous suicide attempt or emergency referral for suicidal ideation in the offspring.


Parents were recruited from two in-patient units in Pittsburgh and New York City; the dates of data collection are unclear.

Risk factors:

DSM-IV affective disorders, schizophrenia and personality disorders (in children over 14 years); history of suicidal behaviour in parents (assessed with Columbia University Suicide History Form and the Medical Damage Lethality Rating Scale); suicide ideation in parents (assessed with Scale for Suicide Ideation); aggression (Brown-Goodwin Lifetime History of Aggression); history of physical or sexual abuse in parents or offspring. Other risk factors assessed through self-report questionnaires included impulsivity, depressive symptoms and hopelessness.


Suicide attempts and suicide events …

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  • Notes: Suicide is a rare event. In this study there were a total of 20 events overall. This would have limited the power of the study to detect differences, particularly between subgroups of participants with different characteristics.

  • Source of funding: National Institutes of Mental Health.


  • Competing interests: None declared.