Children are at elevated risk of committing suicide if one of their parents had attempted suicide, suggests a new study.
Dr. David Brent, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, who is also the co-author of the study, revealed that mood disorders can play a role in a person to attempt suicide. However, there are other factors that can increase a person's risk of making a suicide attempt.
Dr. Brent cites previous studies that have found that family history of suicide attempts is linked to a person's risk at attempting suicide. Prior studies have linked family history of mood disorders to increased risk of suicide attempts. Those studies observed participants only till up to two years.
The latest study involved observing children of parents suffering from mood disorders for a longer time period to establish a possible link between parent and offspring suicide attempts.
The study involved 701 people between 10 and 50 years old. The participants included 334 children of people who had mood disorders and 191 who had already attempted suicide. All the participants were observed for about six years.
The researchers discovered that around 6 percent of participants had tried to commit suicide before enrolling for the study, and about 4 percent of the participants made a suicide attempt during the course of the study.
The study found a connection between suicide attempts of parents and also by their child. These children were found to be five-times more likely to attempt suicide when compared to children whose parents had not attempted a suicide.
"Impulsive aggression was an important precursor of mood disorder and could be targeted in interventions designed to prevent youth at high familial risk from making a suicide attempt," per the study authors.
Dr. Brent previously believed that impulsive aggression that is linked to suicidal tendencies may help researchers understand an offspring's risk to suicide; however, it did not. Impulsive aggression estimated the existence of mood disorders that slightly explains the elevated suicide risk. The researchers believe that impulsive aggression and mood disorders treatments may assist some people.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that about a million adults, or 0.5 percent of the country's adult population made a suicide attempt.
The study has been published in JAMA Psychiatry.