suicide methods used by elderly and younger adults

compare suicide methods used by elderly and younger adults

NOTE: To view the article with Web enhancements, go to:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/507337

Preference for Fall From Height

Robert C. Abrams, MD; Peter M. Marzuk, MD; Kenneth Tardiff, MD; Andrew C. Leon, PhD

Am J Public Health. 2005;95(6):1000-1002. ©2005 American Public Health Association
Posted 07/01/2005

We studied all medical examiner- certified suicides in New York City from 1990 to 1998 to compare suicide methods used by elderly and younger adults. Associations between age and suicide method and place of occurrence were examined. Fall from height was more likely to have been used by individuals 65 or older than by those who were younger. Among persons who died by fall from height, those 65 or older were more likely than others to have fallen from buildings where they lived.

Introduction

Suicide rates in the United States are highest among those aged 65 and older.[1] Additionally, suicide among the elderly has several distinguishing characteristics. For example, geriatric suicide is associated more with depression and physical illness than is suicide among younger adults.[2-4] The elderly also have a higher proportion of completed suicides to attempted suicides.[5,6] Nationally, firearms are most frequently used by persons older than 65 years,[1] but factors influencing choice of suicide method among the elderly are not well understood. In the general population, suicide method has been related to location-specific factors, such as access to firearms or tall buildings.[7]

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