For a study, researchers sought to investigate the relationship between suicidal thoughts and actions in children and genetic predisposition to suicide attempts (SAs).

The case-control research analyzed data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a population-based longitudinal study that included 11,878 US kids aged 9 and 10 from September 2016 to November 2018. The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia was used to collect information on youth reports of suicidal ideation (SI) and SAs at baseline and for 2 additional years. After performing a conservative quality review of the genotyping data, the investigation focused on 4,344 unrelated people of European ancestry. From November 2020 to February 2022, data analysis was carried out. From the ages of 9 to 10 through the ages of 11 to 12, children’s lifetime experiences with SI and SAs were evaluated each year. Based on the biggest genome-wide association research of European ancestry SA cases and controls, polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for SAs were generated for ABCD study participants (total sample n = 518,612).

Significant associations between children’s SA PRSs and their lifetime SAs were found in a sample of 4,344 European-ancestry children (2,045 [47.08%] female; mean [SD] age, 9.93 [0.62] years), with the strongest association occurring in the second follow-up year (odds ratio, 1.43 [95% CI, 1.18-1.75]; corrected P = 1.85×10-3; Nagelkerke pseudo R2 = 1.51%). After taking into consideration the sociodemographic backgrounds, psychopathology symptoms, parental histories of suicide and mental health, and PRSs for major depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder of the children, these relationships remained significant (likelihood ratio test P <.05. The most important partial mediators of SA genetic risk on SAs were children’s sad mood and aggressive behavior (mediation analysis P< 1×10-16). The link of SA PRSs with SAs was also partially mediated by children’s behavioral issues, such as attention issues, rule-breaking behavior, and social issues (mediation analysis false discover rate <0.05).

The study’s results demonstrated that genetic variables might influence SA risk over the lifespan and offer actions and circumstances that may operate as potential mediators of the risk in childhood. If adding genetic information might help identify kids at risk for suicide, more investigation was required.