People who attempt suicide in their youth are more likely to
develop physical as well as mental health problems later in
life, new research from the Dunedin longitudinal study shows.
Study co-author Dr Shyamala Nada-Raja, of the University of
Otago preventive and social medicine department, said the
research was the first to demonstrate the link with physical
health problems in a population-based study.
''It's not just mental health issues, but physical health
issues, as well as social issues [that] are quite negative
for this group right into adulthood.''
The study looked at people who had attempted to commit
suicide before having reached the age of 24.
Of the 1037 participants, 91 had attempted to commit suicide.
In their 30s this group was twice as likely as their peers to
develop metabolic syndrome and had higher levels of systemic
inflammation, indicating a higher risk of cardiovascular
They suffered more psychiatric problems, were likely to be
worse off financially, and were more at risk of domestic
Participants in the Dunedin study were born between 1972 and
Dr Nada-Raja said the findings could lead to greater
recognition that the consequences of attempted suicide were
wider than mental health issues.
The study was led by University of North Carolina researcher
Sigra Goldman-Mellor, and was published this week in the
Journal of the American Medical Association