Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 110–118 | Cite as

Do Headache and Abdominal Pain in Childhood Predict Suicides and Severe Suicide Attempts? Finnish Nationwide 1981 Birth Cohort Study

  • Terhi Luntamo
  • Andre Sourander
  • David Gyllenberg
  • Lauri Sillanmäki
  • Minna Aromaa
  • Tuula Tamminen
  • Kirsti Kumpulainen
  • Irma Moilanen
  • Jorma Piha
Original Article


This study investigated associations between pain symptoms in mid-childhood and severe suicidality in adolescence and early adulthood. Severe suicidality was defined as completed suicide or suicidal attempt requiring hospital admission. In a nationwide prospective population-based study (n = 6,017), parents and children were asked about the child’s headache and abdominal pain at age eight. The outcome was register-based data on suicide or suicidal attempt requiring hospital treatment by age 24. Family composition, parental educational level, and the child’s psychiatric symptoms reported by the child, parents and teacher at baseline were included as covariates in statistical analyses. Boys’ abdominal pain reported by the parents was associated with later severe suicidality after adjusting for family composition, parental educational level, and childhood psychiatric symptoms at baseline. In addition, the association between boys’ own report of headache and later severe suicidality reached borderline significance in unadjusted analysis. Girls’ pain symptoms did not predict later severe suicidality.


Children Pain Prospective studies Suicide 



The study was supported by the Sigrid Juselius Foundation. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, in the writing of the report, or in the decision to submit the report for publication. We thank Hans Helenius, MSc, for assistance in the statistical matters.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare with regard to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terhi Luntamo
    • 1
  • Andre Sourander
    • 1
  • David Gyllenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lauri Sillanmäki
    • 1
  • Minna Aromaa
    • 3
  • Tuula Tamminen
    • 4
  • Kirsti Kumpulainen
    • 5
  • Irma Moilanen
    • 6
  • Jorma Piha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child PsychiatryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of Child Psychiatry, Helsinki University HospitalUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Finland and Child and Adolescent Health Care Unit, Turku City HospitalTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Child Psychiatry, Tampere University HospitalUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  5. 5.Department of Child Psychiatry, Kuopio University HospitalUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  6. 6.Department of Child Psychiatry, Oulu University HospitalUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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