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Familial Liability for Eating Disorders and Suicide Attempts: Evidence From a Population Registry in Sweden
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden .
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States.
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2016 (English)In: JAMA psychiatry, ISSN 2168-6238, E-ISSN 2168-622X, Vol. 73, no 3, 284-291 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Importance: Suicide attempts are common in individuals with eating disorders. More precise understanding of the mechanisms underlying their concomitant occurrence is needed.

Objective: To examine the association between eating disorders and suicide attempts and whether familial risk factors contribute to the association.

Design, setting and participants: A Swedish birth cohort including individuals born in Sweden between January 1, 1979, and December 31, 2001, was followed up from age 6 years to December 31, 2009 (N = 2,268,786). Information was acquired from Swedish national registers. All individuals were linked to their biological full siblings, maternal half siblings, paternal half siblings, full cousins, and half cousins. Data analysis was conducted from October 5, 2014, to April 28, 2015.

Main outcomes and measures: Eating disorders were captured by 3 variables (any eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa) identified by any lifetime diagnoses recorded in the registers. Suicide attempts were defined as any suicide attempts, including death by suicide, recorded in the registers. We examined the association between eating disorders and death by suicide separately, but the study was underpowered to explore familial liability for this association.

Results: Of 2,268,786 individuals, 15,457 females (1.40% of all females) and 991 males (0.09% of all males) had any eating disorder, 7680 females (0.70%) and 453 males (0.04%) had anorexia nervosa, and 3349 females (0.30%), and 61 males (0.01%) had bulimia nervosa. Individuals with any eating disorder had an increased risk (reported as odds ratio [95% CI]) of suicide attempts (5.28 [5.04-5.54]) and death by suicide (5.39 [4.00-7.25]). The risks were attenuated but remained significant after adjusting for comorbid major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorder (suicide attempts: 1.82 [1.72-1.93]; death by suicide: 2.04 [1.49-2.80]). Similar results were found for anorexia nervosa (suicide attempts: crude, 4.42 [4.12-4.74] vs adjusted, 1.70 [1.56-1.85]; death by suicide: crude, 6.46 [4.38-9.54] vs adjusted, 2.67 [1.78-4.01]) and bulimia nervosa (suicide attempts: crude, 6.26 [5.73-6.85] vs adjusted, 1.88 [1.68-2.10]; death by suicide: crude, 4.45 [2.44-8.11] vs adjusted, 1.48 [0.81-2.72]). Individuals (index) who had a full sibling with any eating disorder had an increased risk of suicide attempts (1.41 [1.29-1.53]). The risk was attenuated for any eating disorder in more-distant relatives (maternal half siblings, 1.10 [0.90-1.34]; paternal half siblings, 1.21 [0.98-1.49]; full cousins, 1.11 [1.06-1.18]; half cousins, 0.90 [0.78-1.03]). This familial pattern remained stable after adjusting for the index individuals' eating disorders. Similar patterns were found for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Conclusions and relevance: These results suggest an increased risk of suicide attempts in individuals with lifetime eating disorders and their relatives. The pattern of familial coaggregation suggests familial liability for the association between eating disorders and suicide. Psychiatric comorbidities partially explain this association, suggesting particularly high-risk presentations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chicago, USA: American Medical Association , 2016. Vol. 73, no 3, 284-291 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54622DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2737ISI: 000371613500016PubMedID: 26764185Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84962582593OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54622DiVA: diva2:1064467
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Note

Funding Agencies:

China Scholarship Council 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 

Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences framework 

Global Foundation for Eating Disorders 

Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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