Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Parental socio-economic position during childhood as a determinant of self-harm in adolescence

  • Andrew Page
  • Glyn Lewis
  • Judi Kidger
  • Jon Heron
  • Catherine Chittleborough
  • Jonathan Evans
  • David Gunnell
Original Paper

Abstract

Purpose

Socio-economic position (SEP) during childhood and parental social mobility have been associated with subsequent health outcomes in adolescence and adulthood. This study investigates whether parental SEP during childhood is associated with subsequent self-harm in adolescence.

Methods

This study uses data from a prospective birth-cohort study (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) which followed 14,610 births in 1991–1992 to age 16–18 years (n = 4,810). The association of parental SEP recorded pre-birth and throughout childhood with self-harm was investigated using logistic regression models, with analyses conducted separately for those reporting self-harm (a) with and (b) without suicidal intent. The impact of missing data was investigated using multiple imputation methods.

Results

Lower parental SEP was associated with increased risk of offspring self-harm with suicidal intent, with less consistent associations evident for self-harm without suicidal intent. Associations were somewhat stronger in relation to measures of SEP in later childhood. Depressive symptoms appeared to partially mediate the associations. Adolescents of parents reporting consistently low income levels during childhood were approximately 1.5 times more likely to engage in SH than those never to report low income.

Conclusions

Lower SEP during childhood is associated with the subsequent risk of self-harm with suicidal intent in adolescence. This association is stronger in those experiencing consistently lower SEP.

Keywords

Self-harm Suicide Income Education Social class Socio-economic factors Adolescents ALSPAC 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council UK to study the impact of family socio-economic status on outcomes in childhood and adolescence (principal investigator, Paul Gregg; Grant RES-060-23-0011). We are extremely grateful to all the families who took part in this study, the midwives for their help in recruiting them and the whole ALSPAC team, which includes interviewers, computer and laboratory technicians, clerical workers, research scientists, volunteers, managers, receptionists and nurses. The UK Medical Research Council (Grant Ref: 74882), the Wellcome Trust (Grant Ref: 076467) and the University of Bristol provide core support for ALSPAC. The publication is the work of the authors who serve as guarantors for the contents of this paper. CRC is supported by funds from an Australia Fellowship awarded to John Lynch by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. GL and DG are NIHR Senior Investigators.

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Page
    • 1
  • Glyn Lewis
    • 2
  • Judi Kidger
    • 3
  • Jon Heron
    • 3
  • Catherine Chittleborough
    • 4
  • Jonathan Evans
    • 2
  • David Gunnell
    • 3
  1. 1.Discipline of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population HealthUniversity of QueenslandHerstonAustralia
  2. 2.Academic Unit of PsychiatryUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.School of Social and Community MedicineUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  4. 4.School of Population HealthUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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