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Elderly suicide in Alberta: Difference by gender

by Hude Quan, Julio Arboleda-Flórez
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry ()


OBJECTIVE: To determine differences by gender among elderly persons who commit suicide on demographic characteristics, place of suicide, suicide method, previous suicide behaviour, and precipitant stressor. METHOD: This study included completed suicides of individuals aged 55 years and over during 1984-1995 in Alberta (n = 920). Information was abstracted from suicide records of medical examiners. RESULTS: Relative to elderly female suicides, elderly males who commit suicide characteristically use guns to commit suicide (43.8%), are single (12.5%), live in rural areas (46.7%), and have a lower frequency of previous suicide attempts (16.5%). Physical illness and financial difficulty as precipitant stressors of suicide are significantly more frequent among males (40.3% and 8.7% respectively) than females (29.9% and 1.8% respectively). Mental illness as a precipitant stressor is more common among females, 35.8% for women and 15.3% for men. CONCLUSIONS: Lethal methods of suicide and 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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