Millions around the globe are believed to engage in activities of self harm and conduct suicidal behavior every year. Now, a new study has revealed how a suicide attempt by a parent affected by mood disorders could also significantly increase the risk of the offspring attempting suicide too.
A previous study had also pointed out to how younger people were more likely to attempt suicide just within 2 years of their parent attempting suicide.
The researchers analyzed 334 parents affected by mood disorders and took into consideration their 701 children aged between 10-50 years. They found that 57.2% of the parents attempted suicide and 6.3% of the children attempted suicide before the study and 4.1% made a suicide attempt during the study. It was also found that 65.5% of these children made a first time suicide attempt. The researchers also conducted a series of psychiatric assessments and asked the study subjects to fill out questionnaires to establish the presence of any form of mental disorder in them.
They found that parental suicide increased the risk of the offspring attempting suicide fivefold. They also found that as the study participants aged, their likelihood of being affected by depression increased dramatically. This could possibly explain why there was an increased risk of suicide among children whose parents have attempted the same.
“In fact, impulsive aggression played an important role in increasing the likelihood of an offspring suicide attempt, but it did so by increasing the risk of the subsequent development of a mood disorder, which in turn increased the risk of an attempt. The transition from impulsive aggression to mood disorder may be particularly salient to understanding recurrent suicidal behavior because this pathway from offspring suicide attempt at baseline to an attempt at follow-up was mediated by offspring impulsive aggression and mood disorder,” the researchers note.
The researchers recommend interventions that could help families cope better with their mood disorders and deconstruct suicidal behavior among both parents and children.