September 29, 2009
Elderly Suicide Risk After Previous Attempts Varies By Sex
In older age groups, repeated suicide attempts constitute an increased risk for completed suicide in depressed women, while severe attempts constitute an increased risk for depressed men. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry studied suicide attempts in 100 patients who committed suicide and in an age- and sex-matched control group, investigating the effects of age on suicidal behavior, as a risk factor for accomplished suicide.
Louise BrÃ¥dvik and Mats Berglund, from Lund University, Sweden, studied the hospital records of patients admitted between 1956 and 1969 and followed up until 2006. According to BrÃ¥dvik, "Men and women showed different patterns of suicide attempts in the older age groups. The risk for an initial suicide attempt reduced with age in all females and in male controls, but not in male victims, repetition and severity then showing a special pattern".
The study concerns patients with severe depression (with psychotic and melancholic features) only. It is unknown if the findings are applicable for other depressives.
* Repetition and severity of suicide attempts across the life cycle: a comparison by age group between suicide victims and controls with severe depression. Louise Bradvik and Mats Berglund. BMC Psychiatry (in press)
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