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Early antecedents of suicide: the role of prenatal and childhood risk factors
  1. Jussi Jokinen
  1. Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jussi Jokinen, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Building R5 Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm SE-17176, Sweden; jussi.jokinen{at}

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What is already known on this topic?

Childhood trauma plays a significant role in the development of vulnerability to suicidal behaviour.1 In prospective and record linkage studies, adverse prenatal and perinatal circumstances and behavioural problems in childhood have been associated with suicidal behaviour later in life.2 ,3 Clinical research on suicide attempters indicates that assessment of both childhood trauma and violent behaviour may detect patients at suicide risk.1

What does this paper add?

  • Results from a 50-year follow-up of a large birth cohort with information on both prenatal circumstances and on developmental and adversity factors recorded at the age of 7 years, in relation to suicide death in adulthood, report associations between several early risk factors and later suicide, suggesting that trajectories leading to suicide death start at early life.

  • Both prenatal factors, such as low birth weight, younger maternal age, higher birth order, and emotional adversity in the form of parental death, bullying by peers and externalising problems were associated with higher …

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  • Competing interests None.

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