Studies show that suicidal behavior and depression may run in families, and doctors say parents often feel guilty about passing on such genetic disorders to their children, even though it's out of their hands.
In light of Sylvia Plath's son, Nicholas Hughes, committing suicide this week, as his mother did years ago, CNN is reporting that it's actually common for family members of people who have committed suicide to have suicidal tendencies themselves. A first-degree relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, of a person who has committed suicide is four to six times more likely to try to kill themselves, said Dr. David Brent, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. According to studies on twins, suicidal behavior is 30 to 50 percent due to inherited factors. Even suicide victims' biological relatives who were adopted away show a greater rate of suicides.