Risk for attempted suicide in children and youths after contact with somatic hospitals: a Danish register based nested case–control study
- 1Clinic of Suicide Prevention and Treatment for Children and Adolescents, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Odense University Hospital, Odense C, Denmark
- 2Odense University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and University of Southern Denmark, Institute of Public Health, Odense C, Denmark
- Correspondence to E Christiansen, Clinic of Suicide Prevention and Treatment for Children and Adolescents, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Odense University Hospital, Bjergegade 15, 1st floor, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark;
- Accepted 29 July 2010
- Published Online First 14 October 2010
Background A range of studies have found an association between some somatic diseases and increased risk of suicide and attempted suicide. These studies are mostly analyses of adult populations and illnesses related to adulthood.
Objectives To study the risk of attempted suicide in children and youths with a somatic diagnosis, and to assess a possible association from a somatic perspective.
Methods From a cohort of 403 431 individuals (born 1983–89), 3465 children and youths who had attempted suicide were identified. Each case was matched with 20 population controls. 72 765 children and youths constituted the case–control population. All data were obtained from national population registers and analysed in a nested case–control design.
Results Contact of children and youths with a somatic hospital is correlated with increased risk of attempted suicide; the risk peaks in the time immediately after contact. Risk factors were treatment for injury caused by violence, epilepsy, asthma and malformation for males; and spontaneous and medical abortions, treatment for injury caused by violence, epilepsy, asthma, insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and malformation for females. Not all the mentioned diagnoses were significant in the adjusted model.
Conclusions Based on the results of the study a strategy to minimise the risk of attempted suicide among children and youths must be implemented. The strategy should mainly focus on children at high risk—that is, children from families with low socioeconomic status, and children with a psychiatric history, a history of previous suicide attempts and with an unstable somatic disease subsequently causing many admissions.
All authors had full access to all the data.
This study is registered at the Danish Data Protection Agency j.nr.: 2007-41-0896 and is subject to the Act on Processing of Personal Data. The data is owned by Statistics Denmark and the authors are allowed to access that data but not to share the data with other than staff at the Clinic of Suicide Prevention and Treatment for Children and Adolescents. It is possible for other researchers to reuse data, but this requires approval from the Danish Data Protection Agency, Statistics Denmark and the authors.
Funding This study has been financed be the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA). The MSA had no role other than financing the study.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.