This study has some limitations. The proband sample, recruited from inpatient facilities, was clinically severe, so it remains to be determined whether the findings can be generalized to those with less severe mood disorders. Therefore, this sample is informative, because of its severity, rather than representative. However, other family studies6,7,10,19 that used representative samples of suicide completers and attempters, although not of a high-risk design, have also found transmission of suicidal behavior. Because all the probands had mood disorders, we cannot draw conclusions about the familial transmission of suicidal behavior in those with other mental disorders, although other studies16,20 suggest that familial transmission of suicidal behavior occurs in patients with alcoholism and schizophrenia. Our sample of probands contains very few male attempters, because male attempters who were inpatients often did not have access to their children. Consequently, our results are informative about familial transmission of suicidal behavior from mother to child only. However, our findings are consistent with family studies2,4- 7,9,17,18 of mostly male suicide completers. In this article, we only report on the presence or absence of physical or sexual abuse. More detailed assessment of abuse and exposure histories are being obtained on follow-up and will be the subject of future communications. The reliability of our assessment of physical abuse was only moderate, in keeping with the literature, and this may have obscured finding a relationship between physical abuse and suicidal behavior.55 Finally, although the design of the study is prospective, in this report, we describe solely the cross-sectional relationships observed.