Fathers' alcohol use and suicidal behaviour in offspring during youth and young adulthood

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2019 Dec;140(6):563-573. doi: 10.1111/acps.13098. Epub 2019 Sep 21.


Objective: To examine the association between various indicators of father's alcohol use and suicidal behaviour in offspring during youth and young adulthood.

Methods: The study is based on a cohort of 68 910 Swedish citizens who were born between 1970 and 1985 and have fathers who participated in conscription for compulsory military training in 1969/70. Information on fathers' alcohol use was collected during conscription. Offspring was followed for suicide attempts or completed suicides (through linkage with national registers) from age 12 to end of follow-up in 2008.

Results: After adjustment for confounders, the hazard ratio (HR) for offspring to fathers who were heavy drinkers was 1.4 (95% CI 1.02, 1.93) while the associations turned non-significant for offspring to fathers who often drank into intoxication, HR 1.14 (0.68, 1.90). The highest risk for suicidal behaviour was found for offspring to fathers who had been apprehended for drunkenness two times or more, or with an alcohol-related hospitalization, with adjusted HRs of 2.1 (1.4, 3,14) and 1.9 (1.27, 2,85) respectively.

Conclusion: Fathers' alcohol use is associated with increased risk of suicidal behaviour among offspring in youth and young adulthood.

Keywords: Fathers’ alcohol use; cohort study; offspring suicidal behaviour; youth and young adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fathers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Registries*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Completed / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult