Holly Wilcox, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Pilot Research Grant (2007): $20,000
Parental Suicidal Behavior and Offspring Environmental Risk: A Population-Based Adoption Study
Abstract: This pilot study is designed to compare the relative impact of genetic vulnerability versus aspects of family environment (adoptive parent psychiatric disorder, suicidal behaviors and criminal convictions). The study will do this by using a Swedish database that consists of all births in Sweden since 1931. The database has all offspring linked with their biological and adoptive parents by a unique personal identification number each Swede is assigned at birth. The study is focused on identifying which aspects of the family environment enhance or reduce risk to offspring of birth parents who took their lives to suicide or attempted suicide; and whether this risk is conferred by genetic or environmental factors or an interaction between the two. The grant will allow the investigators to begin to disentangle the effects of genetic risk from the impact of the environment on vulnerability and resilience among offspring at high genetic risk for suicidal behaviors.