Parental bonding and suicidality in pregnant teenagers: a population-based study in southern Brazil



To assess the associations of the perceived quality of parental bonding with suicidality in a sample of pregnant adolescents.


A cross-sectional study with a sample size of 828 pregnant teenagers receiving prenatal medical assistance in the national public health system in the urban area of Pelotas, southern Brazil. Suicidality and psychiatric disorders were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), and the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) was employed to measure the perceived quality of parental bonding. A self-report questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic, obstetric and other psychosocial data.


Forty-three (4.94 %) teenagers from a consecutive sample of 871 refused to participate, resulting in 828 participants. Prevalence of suicidality was 13.3 %, lifetime suicide attempts were 7.4 % with 1.3 % reporting attempting suicide within the last month. Significant associations of suicidality with the 18–19-year-old subgroup, low education, prior abortion, physical abuse within the last 12 months were present, and most psychiatric disorders were associated with a higher suicidality prevalence. Additionally, after adjustment in the multivariate analysis, the style of parental bonding was independently associated with suicidality in the pregnant adolescent, with a PR of 2.53 (95 % CI 1.14–5.59) for the maternal ‘affectionless control’ and a PR of 2.91 (95 % CI 1.10–7.70) for the paternal ‘neglectful parenting.’


We found that maternal ‘affectionless control’ and paternal ‘neglectful parenting’ were independent predictors of suicidality in this sample of pregnant teenagers.

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Correspondence to Fábio Monteiro da Cunha Coelho.

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Coelho, F.M.C., Pinheiro, R.T., Silva, R.A. et al. Parental bonding and suicidality in pregnant teenagers: a population-based study in southern Brazil. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 49, 1241–1248 (2014).

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  • Suicidal behavior
  • Suicidality
  • Parental bonding
  • Teenage pregnancy