Parental mental health and risk of poor mental health and death by suicide in offspring

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Aideen Maguire
Foteini Tseliou
Dermot O'Reilly


Suicide is a major public health concern. Identifying those most at risk is vital for effective targeting of interventions. Mental health (MH) has a genetic component and parental MH is associated with child’s MH. However, little is known on
the effect of parental MH on a child’s risk of death by suicide.

Data from 2011 Northern Ireland Census was linked to 5 years’ death records (2011-2015) to construct multi-level regression models to determine if children living with parents with poor self-rated MH are at an increased risk of poor MH themselves and an increased risk of death by suicide.

618,970 individuals live with their parents; with almost 1 in 7 (13.7%) living with parents with poor MH and 225 (0.1%) dying by suicide during follow-up. Interim results suggest after full adjustment, children with 2 parents with poor MH were
5 times more likely to have poor MH themselves (OR=5.30, 95% CI 4.62,6.09), and children with 1 parent with poor MH were 67% more likely to die by suicide compared to children of parents with good MH (OR=1.67, 95%CI 1.19, 2.33).

Parental MH is associated with child suicide risk even after adjustment for their own MH status.

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How to Cite
Maguire, A., Tseliou, F. and O'Reilly, D. (2018) “Parental mental health and risk of poor mental health and death by suicide in offspring”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 3(2). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v3i2.488.

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