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Epidemiology and temporal trend of suicide mortality in the elderly in Jiading, Shanghai, 2003-2013: a descriptive, observational study

19 Aug 2016

Objectives

To investigate and describe the epidemiological characteristics of suicide in the elderly in Jiading, Shanghai, for the period 2003–2013.

Design

Retrospective, observational, epidemiological study using routinely collected data.

Setting

Jiading District, Shanghai.

Methods

Suicide data were retrieved from the Shanghai Vital Registry database for the period 2003–2013. Crude and age-standardised mortality rates were calculated for various groups according to sex and age. Joinpoint regression was performed to estimate the percentage change (PC) and annual percentage change (APC) for suicide mortality.

Result

A total of 956 deaths due to suicide occurred among people aged ≥65 years during the study period, accounting for 76.7% (956/1247) of all suicide decedents. Among the 956 people with suicide deaths, 88.7% (848/956) had a history of a psychiatric condition. The age-standardised mortality rates for suicide without and with a psychotic history in people aged ≥65 years were much higher than those for people aged <65 years in both genders. Suicide mortality in the elderly showed a declining trend, with a PC of –51.5% for men and –47.5% for women. The APC was –29.1 in 2003–2005, 4.6 in 2005–2008 and –9.7 in 2008–2013 for aged men, and –12.2 in 2003–2006 and –5.2 in 2006–2013 for aged women, respectively. Women living in Jiading had a higher risk of suicide death than men, especially among the elderly. The mortality rate for suicide increased with age in the elderly, and was more marked for those with a psychiatric history than for those without.

Conclusions

Suicide mortality declined in Jiading during the study period 2003–2013 overall, but remained high in the elderly, especially those with a psychiatric history.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open