Psychiatric Morbidity, Violent Crime, and Suicide Among Children and Adolescents Exposed to Parental Death

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Accepted 22 January 2010. published online 01 April 2010.

This retrospective cohort study examined the risk for suicide, psychiatric hospitalization, and violent criminal convictions among offspring of parents who died from suicide, accidents, and other causes.

Population-based data from multiple Swedish national registers were linked from 1969 to 2004. Participants were 44,397 offspring of suicide decedents, 41,467 offspring of accident decedents, 417,365 offspring of parents who died by other causes, and 3,807,867 offspring of alive parents. We estimated risk by mode of parental death (suicide, accident, other) and offspring age at parental death (childhood, adolescence, young adulthood).

Conclusion: The mode of parental death and offspring age at parental death are associated with offspring long-term risk for suicide and hospitalization for specific psychiatric disorders.

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