New York: A child is five times more likely to attempt suicide if he/she has a parent who has attempted suicide in the past, research has found.
The researchers found a direct effect of a parent's suicide attempt on a child, even after they took into account a history of previous suicide attempt by the offspring and a familial transmission of mood disorder.
The study not only confirmed that suicidal behaviour can run in families but also identified the pathways by which suicidal behaviour is transmitted in families.
"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," said David Brent from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania.
For the study, 701 children (aged 10 to 50 years) of 334 parents with mood disorders were followed for an average of nearly six years.
The researchers noted that of the parents, 191 (57.2 percent) had made a suicide attempt.
Of the 701 offspring, 44 (6.3 percent) had made a suicide attempt before participating in the study and 29 (4.1 percent) attempted suicide during the study follow-up.
The study was published online in JAMA Psychiatry.