Affiliation: Adolescent Unit, 41 Alex. Svolou Street, 54621 Thessaloniki, GREECE.
Background: Adolescent motherhood has been found to be associated with offspring suicidal behaviour in adolescence in a few cohort and general population studies.
Aims: To examine this association in a clinical adolescent population.
Method: As part of a continuing study on attempted suicide among adolescents in Northern Greece, 160 cases were examined and compared to a same size general clinical population (all diagnoses except attempted suicide). Comparisons were also made with general population data.
Results: The suicidal adolescents were statistically more likely to have been born to a teen mother or to a mother who gave birth to her first child before the age of twenty. We found that 16.3percent of the suicidal adolescents’ mothers were aged ≤19 at their suicidal offspring’s birth, while 34.4 percent were ≤19 at first childbirth. Corresponding rates in the general clinical population were 5.6% and 17.5% respectively. Rates of teen childbirth appear dramatically higher in the mothers of suicidal adolescents compared to those in the general population in Greece.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that teenage motherhood should be studied more systematically in its association to offspring suicidal behaviour in adolescence.