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Parenthood and lower risk of suicide in women and men: the total Swedish population followed across adulthood



Sörberg Wallin, A;

Sjöqvist, H;

Dehara, M;

Wells, MB;

Dykxhoorn, J;

Kosidou, K;

Dalman, C;

(2022)

Parenthood and lower risk of suicide in women and men: the total Swedish population followed across adulthood.

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology


10.1007/s00127-022-02321-y.

(In press).

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Abstract

Background: Previous studies suggest a protective effect of parenthood on suicide, but little is known about how the association may change across the lifespan, or in relation to sex, marital status or occurrence of psychiatric disorders.

Methods: We followed a cohort of over 5 million Swedish women and men, from 1991 to 2011, up to max. age 75, for death by suicide using national registers. Information on childbirths/adoptions, potential confounders and modifying factors were obtained from national registers. We assessed the associations between parenthood and suicide across adulthood using within time-stratified Cox regression models, with parenthood as a time-dependent exposure.

Results: Parents had a lower risk of suicide than non-parents across the lifespan, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. The association was most pronounced in young adults, especially young women, but attenuated with increasing age and converged between sexes in older age groups. The lower risk of suicide over the life course was similar whether parents were married, unmarried or divorced, apart from married men; among them, parents only had a lower risk above age 55. The lower risk in parents was also evident in people with a history of psychiatric hospitalizations, but disappeared from age 55 in this population.

Conclusion: The lower risk of suicide was present in both parents, was most pronounced in young adulthood and weakened with increasing age. Our results are consistent with a plausible mechanism where feelings of responsibility and connectedness are protective against suicide in parents.

Type: Article

Title: Parenthood and lower risk of suicide in women and men: the total Swedish population followed across adulthood
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00127-022-02321-y
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-022-02321-y
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Suicide · Parents · Life course · Cohort · Epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152800
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