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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990 Jun;38(6):640-4.

Completed suicide at age 50 and over.

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UR-NIMH Clinical Research Center for the Study of Psychopathology of the Elderly (CRC/PE), New York.


The authors present data abstracted from medical examiners' investigative reports of 246 completed suicides of persons over the age of 50 years classified into four age groups. The sample population conformed to epidemiologic studies with regard to sex distribution. With increasing age, more suicide victims were widowed, and significantly fewer were single, separated, or divorced. Violent methods of suicide were more prevalent and alcohol use and psychiatric histories less common with aging. Physical illness and loss became the most common definable precipitants to suicide, whereas job, financial, and family relationship problems became less frequent with increasing age. The indications for future research and intervention in primary care settings are discussed.

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