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Suicidal ideation in adult offspring of depressed and matched control parents: childhood and concurrent predictors.

Valenstein H, Cronkite RC, Moos RH, Snipes C, Timko C. Suicidal ideation in adult offspring of depressed and matched control parents: childhood and concurrent predictors. Journal of mental health (Abingdon, England). 2012 Oct 1; 21(5):459-68.

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BACKGROUND: Suicidal ideation predicts suicide behaviors; however, research is needed on risk factors for suicidal ideation in adults, a common developmental period for first suicide attempts. AIMS: To examine childhood and concurrent predictors of suicidal ideation among 340 adult offspring of depressed and matched control parents. METHOD: Parents were assessed at baseline, and adult offspring were assessed 23 years later. RESULTS: Offspring who reported past-month suicidal ideation (7%) had parents who, 23 years earlier, reported suicidal ideation, psychological inflexibility and use of avoidance coping. Offspring experiencing suicidal ideation were more likely to be unemployed and more depressed, consumed more alcohol and had more drinking problems. They were more anxious and inflexible, had weaker social ties and less cohesive families and had more negative life events and used more avoidance coping. A childhood risk index predicted offspring's suicidal ideation above and beyond concurrent factors. CONCLUSIONS: Along with concurrent risk factors, poor parental functioning may confer long-term risk for adult suicidal ideation. Interventions to prevent the transmission of suicidal ideation to offspring should focus on ameliorating parental risk factors.

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