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Association between biological parental suicidal behaviour and adopted child psychiatric hospitalisation is moderated by adoptive parental psychiatric hospitalisation

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Question: Are adopted children whose biological parents exhibited suicidal behaviour at increased risk for suicide or psychiatric hospitalisation compared with adoptees whose biological parents had non-suicidal psychiatric hospitalisation?

People: 8381 adopted individuals with at least one biological parent with a psychiatric hospitalisation or suicidal behaviour. Adoptees were classified according to biological parents' hospitalisation experiences as either Biological Parents Suicidal Behaviour (BPSB, n=2516) or Biological Parents Psychiatric Hospitalisation (BPPH, n=5875). Data were linked from the Multi-Generation Register, the Cause of Death Register and the National Inpatient Register.

Setting: Sweden; from 1973 to 2003.

Risk factors: BPSB, defined as at least one biological parent's certain or uncertain death by suicide or hospitalisation for suicide attempt; BPSB,defined as at least one biological parent's non-suicidal psychiatric hospitalisation for the following: unipolar depression; alcohol abuse or dependence; drug abuse or dependence; personality disorders; any non-organic psychotic disorder; schizophrenia; bipolar disorders; and anxiety disorders. Adoptive parents' psychiatric hospitalisation during the adoptee's childhood was assessed as a moderator, and defined using the same criteria as BPPH. Hospitalisations were identified using International Classification of Diseases codes.

Outcomes: Suicide; hospitalisation for suicide attempt, unipolar depression, alcohol abuse or dependence, …

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  • Sources of funding American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

  • The Notes is available online only at


  • Competing interests None.