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Perinatal circumstances and risk of offspring suicide: Birth cohort study

  • Daniel V. Riordan (a1), Sivasubramaniam Selvaraj (a2), Cameron Stark (a3) and Julie S. E. Gilbert (a4)

Abstract

Background

A higher risk of suicide has been associated with low birth weight in one study, but not yet replicated. Higher birth order has been associated with self-harm, but not with suicide.

Aims

To examine the relationship between perinatal circumstances and subsequent young adult suicide in Scotland.

Method

Using linked data from the Scottish Morbidity Record and Scottish death records, a birth cohort of 1 061 830 people was followed-up for a mean of 25.1 years. Data were analysed using Cox regression.

Results

Higher maternal parity, younger maternal age (<25 years), non-professional parental occupations and low birth weight (<2500 g) were independently associated with higher suicide risk of offspring as young adults. There was no independent association with gestational age.

Conclusions

Our findings provide support for the influence of maternal circumstance and foetal experience on subsequent mental health.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr D. V. Riordan, New Craigs Hospital, Leachkin Road, Inverness IV3 8NP, UK. Tel.: +44 01463 253627; fax: +44 01463 704696; Email: vincent.riordan@haht.scot.nhs.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding by the Scottish Chief Scientist Office.

Footnotes

References

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Perinatal circumstances and risk of offspring suicide: Birth cohort study

  • Daniel V. Riordan (a1), Sivasubramaniam Selvaraj (a2), Cameron Stark (a3) and Julie S. E. Gilbert (a4)
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eLetters

Re: Birth weight & Month of birth and risk of offspring suicide

Daniel V Riordan, Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist
11 April 2007

Season of birth did not form part of the original aims of our study and therefore was not included in the dataset extracted from the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR). We agree that such data should indeed be incorporated into future work. Although our birth cohort study, with 1,464 suicide cases, could not matchthe statistical power of the 26,915 suicides in the retrospective study bySalib & Cotina-Borja (2006), a higher effect size might be expected from a birth cohort, as data would be confined to those born and dying in Scotland, removing the confounding influence of persons born in the Southern hemisphere.

Salib E., Cortina-Borja M (2006) Month of birth and risk of suicide Birtish Journal of Psychiatry 2006, 188, 416-422
... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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Birth weight & Month of birth and risk of offspring suicide

Emad Salib, Consultant Psychiatrist and Honorary senior Lecturer, Liverpool University
09 March 2007

We enjoyed reading this excellent paper by Riordan and colleagues. The findings are indeed interesting and appear to be in keeping with the Maternal-Foetal origin hypothesis used to explain Salib & Cotina-Borjafindings of the relationship between month of birth and suicide (2006). We believe that those born during spring and early summer months and who have been shown to have a higher risk of suicide in adulthood (Salib &Cortina Borja 2006) may have had low birth weight. Unfortunately such datawas not available for the study and it was hoped that future studies wouldexplore birth weight as a possible risk factor for suicide in adult life. We wonder whether the authors collected month birth data in relation to their findings of low birth weight for those who later committed suicide in adulthood. If so, it would be most interesting to see whether Birth weight-Month of birth relationship in Riordan et al data is in keeping with the increased risk reported by us for those born in spring & early summer.

Salib E., Cortina-Borja M (2006) Month of birth and risk of suicideBirtish Journal of Psychiatry 2006, 188, 416-422
... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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Re: The same groups are less likely to breastfeed their children.

Daniel V Riordan, Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist
06 February 2007

We thank professor Labbock for pointing out the possible role of breastfeeding as a confounding, or indeed mediating factor.

Unfortunately data on infant feeding was not recorded in the ScottishMorbidity Record before 1992 (Britten and Broadfoot, 2000), hence was not available to our study of this cohort.

Britten, J., Broadfoot, M. (2000) Breast feeding in Scotland - Statistical sources Health Bulletin 58(1) ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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The same groups are less likely to breastfeed their children.

Miriam H Labbok, Professor
06 December 2006

Dear Editors:

Thank you for publishing the interesting article on Perinatal circumstances and risk of offspring suicide: Birth cohort study.

Given the literature that has shown the association of lack of breastfeeding with increased anxiety in childhood, and given that lack of breastfeeding is more prevalent in the same populations that were shown inthis study to be associated with increased risk of suicide, it is a pity that this study did not mention this variable. It is possible that breastfeeding is an important confounder in these findings, and certainly should have been discussed.

Thank you for considering this.

Sincerely,Miriam H Labbok, MD, MPHFACPM, IBCLC, FABMProfessor of the Practice of Public Health Director, Center for Infant and Young Child Feeding and CareDepartment of Maternal and Child HealthSchool of Public Health, CB#7445The University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC 27599-7445Tel: 919-966-0928Fax: 919-966-0458labbok@unc.eduwww.sph.unc.edu/mhch/ciycfc

The Center for Infant and Young Child Feeding and Care in the School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill was established in 2006 and exists to further statewide, national and global understanding and support for the mother/child dyad as key to the achievement of optimal infant and young child feeding and associated reproductive health.
... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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