Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Suicide in centenarians: the international landscape

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 June 2014

Ajit Shah
Affiliation:
School of Health, University of Central Lancashire, London, UK
Sofia Zarate-Escudero
Affiliation:
Trainee Psychiatrist, St Charles Hospital, London, UK
Ravi Bhat
Affiliation:
Rural Health Academic Centre, University of Melbourne, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia
Diego De Leo
Affiliation:
Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, Australia Slovene Centre for Suicide Research, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia.
Annette Erlangsen
Affiliation:
Research Unit, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Capital Region of Denmark, Denmark.
Corresponding

Abstract

Background. The elderly population size is growing worldwide due increased life expectancy and decreased mortality in the elderly. This has lead to an increase in the number of centenarians, and their numbers are predicted to increase further. Little is known about suicide rates in centenarians.

Methods. Data on the number of suicides (ICD-10 codes, X60–84) in centenarians of both gender for as many years as possible from 2000 were ascertained from three sources: colleagues, national statisics office websites and e-mail contact with the national statistics offices of as many countries as possible. The number of centernarians for the corresponding years was estimated for each country using data provided by the United Nations website.

Results. Data were available from 17 countries. The suicide rate was 57 (95% confidence interval 45–69) per 100, 000 person years in men and 6.8 (95% confidence interval 5.1–8.5) per 100,000 person years in women.

Conclusions. Suicide rates were sufficiently large amongst centenarians for there to constitute a public health concern given the anticipated rise in the centenarian population and the paucity of data on risk and protective factors for suicide in this age group.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Abrahams, V. J., Abrahams, S. and Jacob, K. S. (2005) Suicide in the elderly in Kanyambadi block, Tamil Nadu, South India. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 20, 953955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andersen-Ranberg, K. et al. (1999). Declining physical abilities with age: a cross-sectional study of older twins and centenarians in Denmark. Age and Ageing, 28, 373378.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Andersen-Ranberg, K., Schroll, M. and Jeune, B. (2001). Healthy centenarians do not exist, but autonomous centenarians do: a population-based study of morbidity among Danish centenarians. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 49, 900908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Archer, S. et al. (2005). Centenarians in Barbados: the importance of religiosity in adaptation and coping and life satisfaction in the case of extreme longivity. Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Ageing, 18, 319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berlau, D. J., Corrada, M. M. and Kawas, C. (2009). The prevalence of disability in the oldest-old is high and increases with age: findings from 90+ study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24, 12171225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bertolote, J. M. and De Leo, D. (2012). Global suicide mortality rates: a light at the end of the tunnel? Crisis, 33, 249253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cheung, S. L. K. et al. (2012). Healthy longivity and health care service needs: a pilot study of the centenarians in Hong Kong. Asian Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 7, 2632.Google Scholar
Christensen, K., Doblhammer, G., Rau, R. and Vaupel, J. W. (2009). Ageing populations: the challenges ahead. Lancet, 374, 11961208.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Christensen, K., McGue, M., Petersen, I., Jeune, B. and Vaupel, J. W. (2008). Exceptional longivity does not result in excessive levels of disability. PNAS, 105, 1327413279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coren, S. and Hewitt, P. L. (1999). Sex difference in elderly suicide rates: some predictive factors. Ageing and Mental Health, 3, 112118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Leo, D. (1999). Cultural issues in suicide and old age. Crisis, 20, 5355.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
De Leo, D. and Carollo, G. (1996). Relationship between suicide and undetermined causes of death among the elderly: analysis of Italian data from 1951 to 1988. Omega, Journal of Death and Dying, 33, 215231.Google Scholar
De Leo, D. and Spathonis, K. (2003). Suicide and euthanasia in late life. Aging, Clinical and Experimental Research, 15, 99110.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
De Leo, D., Milner, A. and Wang, X. (2009). Suicidal behavior in the Western pacific region: characteristics and trends. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 39, 7281.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
De Leo, D., Dudley, M., Aebersold, C., Mendoza, J., Barnes, M., Harrison, J. E. and Ranson, D. (2010). Achieving standardised reporting of suicide in Australia: rationale and program for change. Medical Journal of Australia, 192, 452456.Google Scholar
De Leo, D., Draper, B., Snowdon, J. and Kolves, K. (2013) Suicides in older adults: a case-control psychological autopsy study in Australia. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47, 980988.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dello Buono, M., Urciuoli, O. and De Leo, D. (1998). Quality of life and longivity: a study of centenarians. Age and Ageing, 27, 207216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dennis, M. et al. (2001). Suicide in a single health district: epidemiology and audit of the involvement of psychiatric services. Journal of Mental Health, 6, 673682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diekstra, R. F. W. (1989) Suicide and attemptede suicide: an international perspective. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 80 (Suppl. 354), 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Drefal, S., Lundstrom, H., Modig, K. and Ahlbom, A. (2012). The era of centenarians: mortality of the oldest old in Sweden. Journal of Internal Medicine, 272, 100102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Erlangsen, A., Bille Brahe, U. and Jeune, B. (2003). Differences in suicide between the old and oldest old. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 58B, S314–S332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fortes Gomes, M. M. and Turra, C. M. (2009). The number of centenarians in Brazil. Indirect estimates based on death certificates. Demographic Research, 20, 495502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gessert, C. E., Elliot, B. A. and Haller, I. V. (2002). Dying of old age: an examination of death certificates of Minnesota centenarians. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 50, 15611565.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hedberg, P., Brulin, C. and Alex, L. (2009). Experience of purpose in life when becoming and being a very old woman. Journal of Women and Ageing, 21, 125137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jeune, B. (2002). Living longer – But better? Ageing, Clinical and Experimental Research, 14, 7293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jeune, B. and Skytthe, A. (2001). Centenarians in Denmark. In the past and the present. Population: An English Selection, 13, 7594.Google Scholar
John, S. M. and Koelmeyer, T. D. (2001). The forensic pathology of nonageneraians and centenarians: do they die of old age? (The Auckland Experience). American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 22, 150154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kapusta, N. D. et al. (2011). Declining autopsy rates and suicide misclassification: a cross-national analysis of 35 countries. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68, 10501057.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Koch, T. (2010). Storytelling reveals the active, postivie lives of centenarians. Nursing Older People, 22, 3136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McIntosh, J. L. (1984). Components of the decline in elderly suicides: suicide in young old and old old by race and sex. Death Education, 8, 113124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mellqvist Fassberg, M., Ostling, S., Borjesson-Hanson, A., Skoog, I. and Waern, M. (2013). Suicidal feelings in the twilight of life: a cross-sectional population-based study of 97-year-olds. British Medical Journal Open, 3, e002260. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002260.Google Scholar
Moscicki, E. K. (1995) North American perspectives: epidemiology of suicide. International Psychogeriatrics, 7, 137148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Motta, M., Bennati, E., Ferlito, l., Malaguarnera, M. and Motta, L. (2004). Successful ageing in centernarians: myths and reality. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 40, 241251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Donnell, I. and Farmer, R. (1995). The limitations of official suicide statistics. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 458461.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Oeppen, J. and Vaupel, J. W. (2002). Broken limits to life expectancy. Science, 296, 10291031.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Preston, S. H., Heuveline, P. and Guillot, M. (2000). Measuring and Modelling Popuation Processes. Oxford; Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
Richmond, R. L., Law, J. and KayLamkin, F. (2011). Physical, mental, and cognitive function in a convenience sample of centenarians in Australia. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 59, 10801086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richmond, R. L. et al. (2012). Morbidity profile and lifetime health of Australian centenarians. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 31, 227232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sachdev, P. et al. (2013). The Sydney Centenarian Study: methodology and profile of centenarians and near centenarians. International Psychogeriatrics, 25, 9931005.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schmidtke, A. and Weinacker, B. (1991). Suizidraten suizimethoden und unklare Todesursachen alter menschen. Zeitschrift fur Gerontologie, 24, 311.Google Scholar
Seiden, R. H. (1981). Mellowing with age: factors affecting the non-white suicide rate. International Journal of Ageing and Human Development, 13, 265284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Selim, A. J. et al. (2005). Comprehensive health status assessment of centenarians: results from the 1999 large health survey of veteran enrollees. Journal of Gerontology: Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60A, 515519.Google Scholar
Shah, A. K. (2007a). Demographic changes among ethnic minority elders in England and Wales. Implications for development and delivery of old age psychiatry services. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 3, 2232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shah, A. K. (2007b). The relationship between suicide rate and age: an analysis of multinational data from the World Health Organisation. International Psychogeriatrics, 19, 11411152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shah, A. K. (2011). Elderly suicide rates: a replication of cross-national comparisons and association with sex and elderly age-bands using five year suicide data. Journal of Injury and Violence Research, 3, 8084.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shah, A. K. and Bhat, R. (2009). Does adversity earlier in life affect elderly suicide rates? Cross-national study. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 13, 273277.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shah, A. K. and De, T. (1998). Suicide in the elderly. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 2, 317.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shah, A. K., Bhat, R., MacKenzie, S. and Koen, C. (2007). Elderly suicide rates: cross-national comparisons and association with sex and elderly age-bands. Medicine, Science and the Law, 47, 244252.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shah, A. K., Elanchenny, N. and Collinge, T. (2001). Trends in age band-specific suicide rates in the elderly. Medicine Science and the Law, 41, 102106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shah, A. K. and Ganesvaran, T. (1994) Suicide in the elderly. In Chiu, E. and Ames, D. (eds.), Functional Psychiatric Disorders of the Elderly (pp. 221244). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wasserman, D., Cheng, Q. and Jiang, G. X. (2005) Global suicide rates among young people aged 15–19. World Psychiatry, 4, 114120.Google Scholar
Wastesson, J. W. et al. (2012). Drug use in centenarians compared to nonagenerians and octagenarians in Sweden: a nationwide case register study. Age and Ageing, 41, 218224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
World Health Organisation (2007). International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision. Geneva: World Health Organisation.Google ScholarPubMed

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 98 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-76cb886bbf-m9qpn Total loading time: 0.252 Render date: 2021-01-24T06:42:56.762Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Suicide in centenarians: the international landscape
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Suicide in centenarians: the international landscape
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Suicide in centenarians: the international landscape
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *