Are Adoptees at Increased Risk for Attempting Suicide?

Department of Sociology, Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY 11530, USA.
Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.4). 05/2005; 35(2):206-16. DOI: 10.1521/suli.
Source: PubMed


This study addresses the controversy of whether adopted adolescents are at risk for more mental health problems than the nonadopted and specifically evaluates differences in suicide ideation and depression. Same gender comparisons were made between 346 adopted adolescents and nearly 14,000 others living with biological parents, with nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Results showed few divergences in suicide ideation, attempts, and depression between adopted and nonadopted adolescents and young adults. Future studies employing this same dataset will need to pay closer attention to the high percentages of respondents adopted by blood relatives, which only became known with the collection of the Wave III Add Health data.

Download full-text


Available from: William Feigelman, Aug 14, 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Based on multifaceted evidence (family, twin, adoption, molecular genetic, geographic, immigrant, and surname studies of suicide), the genetics of suicide is increasingly recognized. However, a comprehensive, stand-alone review of adoption studies in this area is unavailable, nor are there data on what people actually believe about adoption study findings. To reassess the available adoption studies of suicide and to provide novel data on beliefs relating to these. Key findings of the 3 existing adoption studies of suicide were reviewed and subjected to a meta-analysis. Beliefs pertaining to these were analyzed in 10 samples (total N = 1379) of different types (medical and psychology students, general population) from 6 countries. The combined evidence from adoption studies clearly supported genetic factors in suicide. Critical tests showed that suicide runs in the biological families of suicided (as well as schizophrenic or affectively ill) adoptees, but not in those of demographically matched healthy control adoptees alive (relative risk RR = 8.38, p = 0.0002). Individuals' beliefs about the plausibility of these findings were inconsistent and self-contradictory. Particularly, it was widely disbelieved that adoptees' risk of suicide resembles the one of their biological, not their adoptive, relatives (which is the case). Despite demonstrating a significant genetic effect, the evidence base from adoption studies of suicide is narrow. To broaden the evidence remains an important research agenda. Gaps in and deficiencies of this specific literature as well as general limitations of adoption study designs are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Psychiatria Danubina
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The paper summarises results from five studies exploring psychosocial outcomes for international adoptees in Sweden. Cohorts of international adoptees were identified in national Swedish registers. The study groups were compared with: 1) general population, 2) national adoptees, 3) immigrants, 4) children on welfare, and 5) birth children of the adoptive parents. The international adoptees had around three-fold excess risks of hospitalisation due to psychiatric problems and suicidal behaviour in models adjusted for age, sex and the adoptive family's social prerequisites. The risk of suicidal behaviour was also high in national adoptees, but lower than that of foster children who had even higher risks. Educational attainment was on par with the general population. Age at adoption over 4 years was related to a poorer outcome. In conclusion, international adoptees are more vulnerable than non-adoptees.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2008 · Infancia y Aprendizaje
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Past literature has identified mental health issues for adopted people. Equally, research reveals that birth parents have ongoing mental health issues related to adoption grief that increases rather than decreases over time. Limited literature explores links between adoption and suicidal thoughts and behaviours. This exploratory study aimed to provide a space for narratives describing perceived links between adoption and suicide to be aired. Narratives from a purposive sample of 20 participants revealed six themes in relation to the study focus: reality denied, prescribed self, powerlessness, suicidal logic, suicide and turning points. A theoretical discussion is developed in relation to the findings, drawing on Girard's concept of sacrificial violence, Butler's notion of performativity, and Kierkegaard's notion of pathology of spirit.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2008 · Advances in Mental Health
Show more