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Sao Paulo Med J. 2017 Mar-Apr;135(2):150-156. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2016.0207091216.

Comparative analysis of death by suicide in Brazil and in the United States: descriptive, cross-sectional time series study.

Author information

1
PhD. Student at the Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station (TX), United States.
2
DDS. Health Auditor, Healthcare Division, Joinville Municipal Authority, Joinville, Santa Catarina (SC), Brazil.
3
MD. Health Auditor, Healthcare Division, Joinville Municipal Authority, Joinville, Santa Catarina (SC), Brazil.

Abstract

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE::

The World Health Organization recognizes suicide as a public health priority. Increased knowledge of suicide risk factors is needed in order to be able to adopt effective prevention strategies. The aim of this study was to analyze and compare the association between the Gini coefficient (which is used to measure inequality) and suicide death rates over a 14-year period (2000-2013) in Brazil and in the United States (US). The hypothesis put forward was that reduction of income inequality is accompanied by reduction of suicide rates.

DESIGN AND SETTING::

Descriptive cross-sectional time-series study in Brazil and in the US.

METHODS::

Population, death and suicide death data were extracted from the DATASUS database in Brazil and from the National Center for Health Statistics in the US. Gini coefficient data were obtained from the World Development Indicators. Time series analysis was performed on Brazilian and American official data regarding the number of deaths caused by suicide between 2000 and 2013 and the Gini coefficients of the two countries. The suicide trends were examined and compared.

RESULTS::

Brazil and the US present converging Gini coefficients, mainly due to reduction of inequality in Brazil over the last decade. However, suicide rates are not converging as hypothesized, but are in fact rising in both countries.

CONCLUSION::

The hypothesis that reduction of income inequality is accompanied by reduction of suicide rates was not verified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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