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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1992 Dec;86(6):489-94.

Recent life events and their role in suicide as seen by the spouses.

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Department of Mental Health, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.


The occurrence of recent life events during the last 3 months and their significance in the suicide process as subjectively perceived by the surviving partners were studied among a subpopulation of suicide victims (n = 400) who had a spouse or a cohabitant as the informant. This subpopulation was drawn from a total suicide population (n = 1397) of 1 year in Finland. According to the partners' reports, life events during the last 3 months were reported in 85% of the suicides. Job problems (33%), family discord (32%) and somatic illness (29%) were most commonly reported. More male than female victims had experienced recent life events, and the mean number of events was higher among men than among women. There were differences between single life events in terms of how often the partners perceived them as precipitants of suicide. Separation was seen as the most critical event: in 68% of suicides with reported separation during the last 3 months the partner also rated it as a precipitant, followed by somatic illness in 57%, family discord in 44%, financial trouble in 44%, unemployment in 34%, death in 29%, job problems in 19% and illness in family in 14%.

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