Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Mar;9(3):722-45. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9030722. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

A systematic review of social factors and suicidal behavior in older adulthood.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Wallinsgatan 6, 43141 Mölndal, Sweden. madeleine.mellqvist@neuro.gu.se

Abstract

Suicide in later life is a global public health problem. The aim of this review was to conduct a systematic analysis of studies with comparison groups that examined the associations between social factors and suicidal behavior (including ideation, non-fatal suicidal behavior, or deaths) among individuals aged 65 and older. Our search identified only 16 articles (across 14 independent samples) that met inclusion criteria. The limited number of studies points to the need for further research. Included studies were conducted in Canada (n = 2), Germany (n = 1), Hong Kong (n = 1), Japan (n = 1), Singapore (n = 1), Sweden (n = 2), Taiwan (n = 1), the U.K. (n = 2), and the U.S. (n = 3). The majority of the social factors examined in this review can be conceptualized as indices of positive social connectedness-the degree of positive involvement with family, friends, and social groups. Findings indicated that at least in industrialized countries, limited social connectedness is associated with suicidal ideation, non-fatal suicidal behavior, and suicide in later life. Primary prevention programs designed to enhance social connections as well as a sense of community could potentially decrease suicide risk, especially among men.

KEYWORDS:

death wishes; non-fatal suicidal behavior; older adults; social factors; social support; suicidal ideation; suicide; systematic review

PMID:
22690159
PMCID:
PMC3367273
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph9030722
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center