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J Inj Violence Res. 2012 Jul;4(2):79-86. doi: 10.5249/jivr.v4i2.101. Epub 2011 Apr 16.

Suicide rates: age-associated trends and their correlates.

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  • 1International School for Communities, Rights and Inclusion, University of Central Lancashire, Preston and Consultant Psychiatrist, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom. ajit.shah@wlmht.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Suicide rates traditionally increased with ageing. There is a paucity of studies examining factors associated with age-associated trends in suicide rates.

METHODS:

The relationship between suicide rates and ageing was examined by ascertaining suicide rates in the seven age-bands 16-24 years to 75+ years from the World Health Organisation for 97 countries. The relationship between socio-economic status, income inequality, health-care expenditure, child mortality rates and life expectancy and countries with an increase, a decline and no change in suicide rates with ageing was examined using data from the United Nations.

RESULTS:

In males and females there was a decline in 5 and 10 countries, an increase in 33 and 37 countries and no change in 59 and 50 countries respectively in suicide rates with ageing. Age-associated trends in suicide rates were significantly associated with socio-economic status (males) or income inequality (females), per capita expenditure in healthcare, the proportion of gross-national domestic product spent on healthcare, child mortality rates and life expectancy.

CONCLUSIONS:

The current study, of factors associated with age-associated trends in suicide rates, confirmed a previously developed five sequential stage model to explain the relationship between elderly suicide rates and socio-economic status and income inequality, quality and quantity of healthcare services, child mortality rates and life expectancy.

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