Washington, Jan 17: Males with short stature at birth have more than a double risk of violent suicide attempt in adulthood, says a study.
The researchers examined the records of almost 320,000 Swedish men out born between 1973 and 1980 where they assessed their birth to the date of attempted suicide, death, emigration, or the end of 1999, whichever came first.
The findings revealed that babies less than 47 cm in length, were more likely to attempt suicide as adults irrespective of the height in adulthood as compared to normal length babies.
It also showed that men who were normal length babies at birth but had a short height in the adulthood were 56 pct more likely to attempt suicide than the taller men. The taller a man was, the less likely he was to attempt suicide.
The violent suicide attempt included hanging, the use of a firearm or knives, jumping from a height or in front of vehicles, and drowning.
The study also revealed that men who were underweight at birth but reached normal height later were more than 2.5 times as likely to make a violent suicide attempt.
And babies born prematurely with short length and were underweight, were more than four times to attempt suicide.
The authors believe that brain chemical serotonin may be key to violent suicide attempts.
Serotonin is crucial to brain development and low levels play an important role in impulsive, aggressive and suicidal behaviour.
These levels may be affected by premature birth and other factors restricting growth in the womb, they add.
The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.