January 24, 1986

Suicide and Affective Disorder Among the Old Order Amish

Author Affiliations

University of South Alabama Mobile

JAMA. 1986;255(4):468. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370040038020

To the Editor.—  I appreciate the article by Egeland and Sussex1 on suicide and affective disorders among the Old Order Amish; their findings certainly influence how we think about the clustering and transmission of these entities.The pedigrees they show us contain an interesting pattern: three instances of marriage between affected families. (1) In pedigree 265, generation III shows a union between members of two families in which suicide has occurred. (2) One of their daughters (generation IV) married a man who subsequently died, probably by suicide. (3) Pedigree 214 is especially interesting, in that at generation III an apparently normal woman whose brother committed suicide married a man from a suicide-prone family.Note especially that two of these three unions between affected families resulted in an offspring who committed suicide.Whatever influence family environment and direct genetic transmission may have in the tendency to suicide, it would seem that