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J Gerontol. 1991 Jan;46(1):S43-51.

Adolescent and elderly white male suicide trends: evidence of changing well-being?

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1
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-8107.

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship proposed by Preston (1984) between suicide trends and the changing status of America's dependent populations. Since World War II, as adolescent suicide rates have risen and elderly suicide rates declined, the rates have generally converged. In particular, adolescent and elderly suicide rates among White males reveal some of the most dramatic shifts relative to other age-race-sex-specific groups. This social-demographic study examined indicators of well-being as proposed by Preston (1984) to determine whether these structural factors can account for White male adolescent and elderly suicide trends. Using annual U.S. suicide rates for the White male populations aged 15 to 24 and 65 and over, I examined the hypotheses that (a) the rising suicide trend among the adolescent population is associated with a deteriorating state of well-being for adolescents, and (b) the generally declining suicide trend among the elderly population is associated with an improving state of well-being for elderly persons. A post-World War II annual time series analysis was used in this research for the period 1946 to 1986. The findings suggest that family dissolution and White children living in poverty are associated with White male adolescent suicide trends and that societal affluence is associated with White male elderly suicide trends. The implications of these findings for future adolescent and elderly suicide trends are also addressed.

PMID:
1986048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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