Suicide ideation among parents bereaved by the violent deaths of their children.


Suicide ideation among parents bereaved by the violent deaths of their children.


Murphy SA; Tapper VJ; Johnson LC; Lohan JA


Issues In Mental Health Nursing




Child; Female; Humans; Male; Adult; Questionnaires; Middle Aged; Self Efficacy; Longitudinal Studies; Predictive Value of Tests; Family Health; Stress; adolescent; Adaptation; Psychological; bereavement; Parents/psychology; social support; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Stress Disorders; Post-Traumatic/diagnosis/psychology; Violence/psychology; Accidents/psychology; Suicide/psychology; Depression/diagnosis/psychology; Homicide/psychology; Psychological/diagnosis/psychology


Suicidal behaviors of parents bereaved by a child's suicide have received considerable attention by researchers, but deaths by other violent causes have not. We observed 175 bereaved parents for five years following three types of violent death: accidents, homicides, and suicides. The results showed that the incidence of suicidal ideation (SI) among the study parents was 13% (n = 34) over the 5 years and 9% (n = 24) at the initial data collection four months after the death of an adolescent or young adult child. Comparisons of study parents grouped by the presence or absence of SI showed that after corrections were made for the number of t-tests conducted, statistically significant differences on three of four outcome variables remained (mental distress, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], but not on acceptance of the child's death). The groups also differed significantly on four of seven mediating variables examined. The hypothesis that parents whose children died by suicide would report the highest incidence of suicidal ideation was not supported. Regression analyses showed that SI was a significant predictor of depression one year, but not five years, after the violent death of a child. The hypothesis that SI would predict both depression and PTSD one year postdeath was not supported. Clinical and policy recommendations are offered.


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Murphy SA; Tapper VJ; Johnson LC; Lohan JA, “Suicide ideation among parents bereaved by the violent deaths of their children.,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed February 24, 2024,