University of Oulu

Kerkelä, M., Gissler, M., & Veijola, J. (2022). Association between participation to the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 and mental disorders and suicidal behaviour. Epidemiology and Health, e2022005.

Association of participation in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 with mental disorders and suicidal behaviour

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Author: Kerkelä, Martta1; Gissler, Mika2,3,4,5; Veijola, Juha1,6,7
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
3Research Centre for Child Psychiatry, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
4Academic Primary Health Care Centre, Region Stockholm, Stockholm, Swede
5Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
6Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Medical Research Center, University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Korean Society of Epidemiology, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-17


Objectives: In prospective follow-up studies, participants are normally contacted during the follow-up period. Even though the idea is not to intervene, the studies conducted during follow-up may affect the target population. Our hypotheses were that participation in the prospective Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 study (NFBC 1986) increased the use of mental health services and reduced suicidal behaviour due to participation in follow-up studies.

Methods: The NFBC 1986 study covered people with an expected date of birth between July 1985 and June 1986 in northern Finland (n=9,396). The participants of the NFBC 1986 were followed since the antenatal period with follow-ups including clinical examinations. The comparison cohort comprised people born in the same area in 1987 (n=8,959), who were not contacted. Registry data on psychiatric treatment, suicide attempts, and suicides were available. Crude risk ratios (RRs) and adjusted (for marital status and education) Mantel-Haenszel RRs were reported.

Results: No increase in mental disorders were found in NFBC 1986 compared to comparison cohort. In the crude RR analysis of female participants, a lower risk for suicide attempts was found (RR, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.49 to 0.92; p=0.011).

Conclusions: The results did not support our first hypothesis regarding the increased use of mental health services in the NFBC 1986 cohort. However, our second hypothesis gained some support as female participants of the NFBC 1986 had a lower risk of suicide attempts, although it was not due to a higher number of participants receiving psychiatric treatment.

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Series: Epidemiology and health
ISSN: 2092-7193
ISSN-E: 2092-7193
ISSN-L: 2092-7193
Volume: 44
Article number: e2022005
DOI: 10.4178/epih.e2022005
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: The NFBC 1986 was supported by a EURO-BLCS (grant No. E51560), Nordic Research-Network NorFA (gran No. 731, 20056, 30167), NIHH USA 2000 (grant No. 50945) and the study was supported by University of Oulu Graduate School.
Copyright information: ©2022, Korean Society of Epidemiology. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.