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Biological parent suicide and severe psychiatric morbidity are risk factors for suicide in adopted and non-adopted offspring

Statistics from



Do heritable and socioeconomic determinants of suicide differentially affect suicide incidence in people raised by biological versus adoptive parents?


2 471 496 people born between 1946 and 1968, who were living in Sweden in 1986 with at least one biological parent resident in the country in 1960. In this cohort, 27 600 adoptees were identified. Partner or other family adoptions were excluded.


General population, Sweden; 1987–2001.

Risk factors

Biological parent psychiatric morbidity or suicide (suicide death, psychotic and affective disorders, alcohol abuse) as identified in the Swedish Hospital Discharge Register 1987–2002 and the National Cause of Death Register from 1960 to 2001; socioeconomic variables (socioeconomic status, area of residency, housing, single parent household, maternal age).


Suicide death (certain and uncertain suicides as reported in the National Cause of Death Register).



Prospective cohort study (based on health and national social databases).

Follow-up period

14 years.

Main results

In the adopted group, 180 of the 27 600 individuals (0.7%) committed suicide during the follow-up period, as compared with 8635 of 2 443 …

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  • Sources of funding Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.


  • Competing interests None.

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