Parental death due to natural death causes during childhood abbreviates the time to a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder in the offspring: A follow-up study

Death Stud. 2022;46(1):168-177. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2020.1725928. Epub 2020 Feb 17.


Parental death before adulthood has been shown to increase offspring's risk of poor health and adverse social consequences. In a sample of 422 subjects with parental death (334 (79.1%) due to natural causes), and 6172 matched controls, those with parental death were given a diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder up to 28 years of age earlier than their controls (10-year survival proportions: 88.6% vs. 93.1%, p = 0.001). Our findings indicate that psychosocial support must be provided as early as when a parent falls ill, especially with those illnesses that are the most common causes of death in the population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Parental Death*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Risk Factors