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February 1994

The Relation of Parenthood to Suicide

Author Affiliations

Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center 1725 W Harrison St, Suite 955 Chicago, IL 60612

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(2):160. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950020084009

Høyer and Lund1 reported finding only one study "focusing on the importance of parenthood related to suicide," proposing theirs as the "first prospective one [of a large size] focusing on the association between family size and suicide among women." In our review of risk factors for death by suicide,2 we noted several investigators since Veevers3 have reported evidence suggesting that parental status is a better demographic marker for decreased suicide risk than marital status (ie, those with responsibility for young children are at lower risk)4,5 or have offered the same hypothesis as an explanation for their findings.6

Nonetheless, the Høyer and Lund study constitutes a remarkable contribution to the epidemiology of suicide. By tracking an entire population of women (almost 1 million) of known marital, childbearing, and parental status for 15 years, they show that married women without children were more likely to die by

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