Suicidal ideation and aggression in childhood, genetic variation and young adult depression

Shirley Y Hill, Bobby L Jones, Gretchen L Haas
Journal of Affective Disorders 2020 July 24, 276: 954-962

BACKGROUND: Suicidal thoughts and behaviors have been studied in association with a variety of risk factors. The aim of the present study was to determine if levels of child/adolescent aggression and/or variation in candidate genes previously associated with suicidal behaviors in adults would influence the presence of suicidal ideation in childhood/adolescence, and to determine if ideation was associated with young adult depression.

METHODS: A longitudinal study of children, adolescents and young adults who were at high or low risk for alcohol and other substance use disorders by familial background were assessed. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) aggression scale scores with derived subtypes (physical and relational) and genetic variation (ANKK1, DRD2, COMT, SLC6A4, HTR2C) were used as predictors of the presence and onset of suicidal ideation in childhood using survival analysis. Structural equation models (SEM) were fit to determine the relative importance of the predictors controlling for background variables.

RESULTS: CBCL aggression was significantly associated with child/adolescent suicidal ideation. One SNP in the ANKK1 gene (rs1800497), one in the HTR2C gene (rs6318), and two haplotypes, AAAC in the ANKK1-DRD2 complex and the CCC haplotype of the HTR2C gene, were significantly associated with the presence and onset of child/adolescent suicidal ideation. Follow up in young adulthood showed a significant relationship between suicidal ideation in childhood/adolescence and young adult depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variation and presence of elevated aggression scores from the childhood CBCL are significant predictors of childhood suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation in childhood and being female are predictors of young adult depression.

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