Motherhood 'protects against suicide'

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Washington, Mar 23 (ANI): Mothers with big broods are less likely to commit suicide, a new study has concluded.

The study has been reported in an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

The study, following 1 292 462 women in Taiwan over 20 years, was undertaken to confirm a hypothesis postulated by the renowned sociologist Emile Durkheim in 1897 that parenthood is protective against suicide.

It found a 39 percent decrease in suicide-related mortality among women with two live births and a 60 percent decrease among women with three or more births compared to women with one child. The participants, who were followed until Dec. 31, 2007, gave birth between Jan. 1, 1978 and Dec. 31, 1987.

"A clear tendency was found toward decreasing suicide rates with increasing number of children after controlling for age at first birth, marital status, years of schooling, and place of delivery," writes author Dr. Chun-Yuh Yang, Kaoshiung Medical University, Kaoshiung, Taiwan. "The protective effect of parity on risk of death from suicide was much stronger than previously reported estimates. Given that the women included in this study were young (the large majority of suicide-related deaths occurred before premenopausal age) and were among the youngest reported for any country, this finding is particularly noteworthy."

Having children may protect against suicide because children may increase a mother's feelings of self-worth. Children may also provide emotional and material support to a mother and provide her with a positive social role. As well, motherhood may enhance social networks and social support. (ANI)

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