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OBJECTIVES: Genetic factors have been found to influence the risk of suicide. It is less clear if this also applies to attempted suicide. We have investigated genetic and familial environmental factors by studying the occurrence of suicide attempts in biological and adoptive siblings of adoptees who attempted suicide compared to siblings of adoptees with no suicide attempts. METHOD: We used a random sample of 1933 adoptees from the Danish Adoption Register, a register of non-familial adoptions of Danish children, i.e. the adoptive parents are biologically unrelated to the adoptee. Analyses were conducted on incidence rates of attempted suicide in biological and adoptive siblings given occurrence of attempted suicide in the adoptees while also taking into account psychiatric disorders. Information about suicidal attempt and history of psychiatric disorder was based on hospital admissions. RESULTS: The rate of attempted suicide in full siblings of adoptees who attempted suicide before age 60 years was higher than in full siblings of adoptees who had not attempted suicide (incidence rate ratios (IRR)=3.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.94-12.7). After adjustment for history of psychiatric admission of siblings the increased rate was statistically significant (IRR=3.88; 95% CI-1.42-10.6). LIMITATIONS: Information on attempted suicide and psychiatric history was limited to that which involved hospitalisation. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic factors influence risk of suicide attempts.

Original publication




Journal article


J Affect Disord

Publication Date





273 - 277


Adoption study, Familial environment, Genetics, Siblings, Suicide attempts, Adoption, Child, Cohort Studies, Denmark, Female, Gene-Environment Interaction, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Registries, Risk Factors, Siblings, Suicide, Attempted