• suicide;
  • alcoholism;
  • drug addiction;
  • obstetrics;
  • birth injuries;
  • imprinting

ABSTRACT: The study was undertaken to test whether obstetric procedures are of importance for eventual adult behavior of the newborn, as ecological data from the United States seem to indicate. Birth record data were gathered for 412 forensic victims comprising suicides, alcoholics and drug addicts born in Stockholm after 1940, and who died there in 1978–1984. The births of the victims were unevenly distributed among six hospitals. Comparison with 2,901 controls, and mutual comparison of categories, showed that suicides involving asphyxiation were closely associated with asphyxia at birth, suicides by violent mechanical means were associated with mechanical birth trauma and drug addiction was associated with opiate and/or barbiturate administration to mothers during labor. Irrespective of the mechanism transferring the birth trauma to adulthood—which might be analogous to imprinting—the results show that obstetric procedures should be carefully evaluated and possibly modified to prevent eventual self-destructive behavior.