Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are assumed to increase the risk of depression in late life via development of poor mental health conditions; however, the association between mental distress in childhood and geriatric depression has not been directly examined. This study examined the association between childhood suicidal ideation and geriatric depression, using population-based, cross-sectional survey data from 1140 community-dwelling, functionally independent older adults in Wakuya City, Japan. We assessed childhood suicidal ideation by asking the participants whether they had seriously considered attempting suicide before the age of 18, together with geriatric depression, using the Japanese version of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale. Poisson regression was applied to adjust for potential confounders and mediators. In total, 6.1% of the participants reported childhood suicidal ideation. After adjustment for sex, age, personality attributes and ACEs, childhood suicidal ideation was positively associated with geriatric depression prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.40, 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI): 1.04–1.88). The increased PR of geriatric depression remained significant, even after further adjustment for adulthood socio-economic status, recent life stressors and current health status (PR: 1.38, 95%CI: 1.02–1.88). Further prospective studies are warranted, but efforts to deliver mental health services to children with suicidal ideation potentially diminish the highly prevalent geriatric depression.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited