Suicidal behavior and parental psychopathology in hospitalized depressed children

R A Weller, E B Weller, M A Fristad, P Kapadia Bawa
Depression and Anxiety 2001, 14 (3): 183-5
This study describes the suicidal behavior of hospitalized depressed children and assesses its relationship to psychopathology and suicidal behavior in their parents. Subjects were 58 consecutively hospitalized prepubertal children with a primary diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), and 58 age- and gender-matched children hospitalized for psychiatric diagnoses other than a mood disorder. Clinical interviews and structured diagnostic instruments were reviewed to determine the children's suicidal behavior and their parents' history of psychopathology. Suicidal ideation, suicidal intent, suicidal plans, and suicide attempts were more frequent in MDD children compared to nondepressed children. When MDD and control samples were stratified as to presence of suicidal behavior in the child, psychopathology was high in parents from all subgroups. Intensity of suicidal behavior in the depressed and non-depressed children was not associated with an altered pattern of psychopathology in their parents. Hospitalized MDD children had increased suicidal behavior compared to inpatient psychiatric control children. However, suicidal behavior in the children was not associated with increased psychopathology or an altered pattern of psychopathology in their parents.

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