Determined differences by gender among elderly persons who commit suicide on demographic characteristics, place of suicide, suicide method, previous suicide behaviour, and precipitant stressor. This study included all suicides of individuals aged 55 yrs and over during 1984–1995, in Alberta. Information was abstracted from suicide records of medical examiners. Relative to elderly female suicides, elderly male suicides characteristically use guns to commit suicide, are single, live in rural areas, and have a lower frequency of previous suicide attempts. Physical illness and financial difficulty as precipitant stressors of suicide are significantly more frequent among males than females. Mental illness as a precipitant stressor is more common among females. Lethal methods of suicide, physical illness, and financial difficulty as precipitant stressors of suicide are more common among elderly males than females who commit suicide.
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