High social class and suicide in persons at risk for schizophrenia

Authors


Leigh Silverton, Department of Psychology, University Park, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Prkwy, AHF 252, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0375, USA.
E-mail: silverto@usc.edu

Abstract

Objective:  The relationship between suicide and social class has been equivocal. While some authors have reported that higher social class is related to higher rates of suicide, most other studies report that lower social class is associated with higher rates of suicide. Our study attempted to resolve these inconsistencies by using a High Risk for schizophrenia method.

Method:  Children of women with severe schizophrenia were assessed in 1962. In 2005, when subjects were a mean age of 58 years, we identified those who had committed suicide.

Results:  A higher rate of suicide was associated with risk for schizophrenia in the High-Risk sample. Higher social class origin was associated with suicide in persons at risk for mental illness.

Conclusion:  Higher social class origin was associated with suicide in subjects at genetic risk for schizophrenia (but not those without risk).

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