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Elderly suicide rates: the importance of a non-linear relationship with distal risk and protective factors

  • Ajit Shah (a1), Ravi Bhat (a2) and Sofia Zarate-Escudero (a3)

Extract

The elderly population size is increasing worldwide due to prolonged life expectancy and falling birth rates. Traditionally, suicide rates increase with age. For example, a recent cross-national study of 62 developing and developed countries reported an increase in suicide rates with aging in males and females in 25 and 27 countries respectively (Shah, 2007a). Thus, suicides in the elderly are an important public health concern. While much is known about proximal (individual level) risk and protective factors for elderly suicides (e.g. Conwell et al., 1991; Cattell and Jolley, 1995; Harwood et al., 2001), less is known about more distal (societal or population level) risk and protective factors (Rehkopf and Buka, 2006). Moreover, detailed knowledge of these distal factors may have greater public health relevance for the development of comprehensive prevention strategies (Knox et al., 2004).

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References

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