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The Role of Depression in the Differential Effect of Childhood Parental Divorce on Male and Female Adult Offspring Suicide Attempt Risk

Lizardi, Dana PhD*; Thompson, Ronald G. PhD*; Keyes, Katherine MPH†‡; Hasin, Deborah PhD†‡§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: September 2010 - Volume 198 - Issue 9 - p 687-690
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181ef218c
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In previous studies by our group, we found that female offspring of parental divorce and parental remarriage are more susceptible to suicide attempt than male offspring. In this study, we examine whether these findings remain even after controlling for offspring depression. The sample consists of respondents from the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Multivariable regressions controlled for offspring depression, parental depression, age, race/ethnicity, income, and marital status. Our previous findings that female offspring of parental divorce and parental remarriage are more likely to report a lifetime suicide attempt than male offspring remained even after controlling for offspring depression. Findings suggest that focusing on engaging female offspring who demonstrate symptoms of depression is not sufficient to reduce suicide attempt risk in this group as many at risk individuals will remain unrecognized.

*Graduate School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY; †New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY; ‡Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY; and §Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Supported by K05 AA 014223 and R01AA13654 (to D.H.), a fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH013043–36; to K.K.), and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

No authors have any relevant financial interests.

Send reprint requests to Dana Lizardi, PhD, School of Social Work, Columbia University, 1255 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10027. E-mail: dl2298@columbia.edu.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.