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Paternal and maternal bonding disparity in suicide

Author(s): Mei-Chung Chang, Ming-Been Lee, Ting-Hsuan Lee, For-Wey Lung


The term of suicide is too broad and too vague. The definition and risk for suicide-related behaviors, that including self-harm, threats, attempts and suicide, remain unclear. In addition, whether paternal or maternal bonding plays an important role in suicidal attempt and threat is unknown in Taiwan. Hence, this study aimed to find out the relationship between different parental bonding styles and suicidal attempt and threat, and the predictive index for suicidality was also investigated.


Total of 422 participants with suicidal attempt and 356 who’s with suicidal threat, which referred from all Health Department clinics and hospitals in 33 townships of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, were recruited. In addition, 299 controls were random sampling from the community in 33 townships of Pingtung County, and who’s without any psychiatric diagnosis history.


After adjustment for socio-demographics, both paternal and maternal “affectionless control” had significant associations with suicidality. When demographics and depression was adjusted, only the paternal “affectionless control” remained significantly associated with the suicidality. Furthermore, personality characteristics, alexithymia, and mental disorders as the mediating factors between parental affectionless control and suicidal attempt or threat are shown.


In conclusion, paternal and maternal “affectionless control” might be used as the predictors for suicidal attempt and threat in Taiwan. Particularly, the impact of paternal affectionless has contributed to suicidal attempt through neuroticism than threat. These models may provide the references for clinical implication. Different preventive program and model might be considered in different type of suicide behaviors.

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