Children of 'The Troubles' more prone to suicide

July 25, 2012

People who grew up in the worst years of 'The Troubles ' are more prone to suicide in Northern Ireland, according to new research carried out at Queen's University Belfast.

The research, which examined death registration data over the last 40 years, found that the highest suicide rate is for men aged 35-44 (41 per 100,000 by 2010) followed closely by the 25-34 and 45-54 . The findings showed that children who grew up in the worst years of violence between 1969 and 1977-78 are the cohort which now has the highest and the most rapidly increasing rates of all age groups.

The study found that the overall rate of suicide for both men and women in Northern Ireland doubled in the decade following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, rising from 8.6 per 100,000 of the population in 1998 to 16 per 100,000 by 2010. Suicide rates for men went from 13 per 100,000 of the population in 1997 to 24 per 100,000 by 2008; for women the increase was from a rate of 3.9 to 7.3 over the same period.

Speaking about his research, Professor Mike Tomlinson, from the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work at Queen's, said: "The rise in suicide rates in the decade from 1998 to 2008 coincide with the move from conflict to peace in Northern Ireland. The increase in suicide rates can be attributed to a complex range of social and . These include the growth in , arising from the experience of conflict, and the greater of the past decade. The transition to peace means that cultures of externalised aggression are no longer socially approved or politically acceptable. Violence and aggression have become more internalised instead. We seem to have adjusted to peace by means of mass medication with anti-depressants, alcohol and non-, the consumption of which has risen dramatically in the period of peace."

The research also compared hospital presentations resulting from self-harming in nine cities across Britain, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. It found that Derry had the highest rate of such presentations, with 611 per 100,000 of the population in 2009, while Dublin, had a rate of 352 presentations in the same year. The self harm rate in Derry was higher than that of Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, Limerick, Cork, Galway and Waterford.

Professor Tomlinson said: "During the 1970s and 1980s, the suicide rate rose steadily up to a rate of 10 per 100,000, low by international standards. It then fell slightly over a ten year period. The puzzle is, why have we seen such a dramatic increase in the rate since 1998? What this research reveals for the first time is that the age groups with the highest suicide rates are the cohort who were children during the worst years of violence. Those born and growing up in the conflict experienced no other social context until the late 1990s. There are clear indications from the research that this cohort not only has the highest suicide rate but also the most rapidly increasing rate when compared with other age groups.

"Northern Ireland's suicide prevention strategy has so far made little impact on the upward trend. It may well be missing the target by over-emphasizing interventions with younger age groups and failing to focus on those who experienced the worst of the violence."

Explore further: Russia must tackle 'critical' suicide rate: experts

More information: iss.sagepub.com/content/early/ … 80912443579.abstract

Related Stories

Russia must tackle 'critical' suicide rate: experts

October 20, 2011
Russia must launch a public health campaign to reduce the country's suicide rate, among the highest in the world, top psychiatrists said on Thursday.

China's suicide rate 'among highest in world'

September 8, 2011
A person tries to kill themselves in China every two minutes, the government and state media said Thursday, giving the country one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

Alcohol blamed for high suicide rates in Northern Ireland

June 29, 2011
Alcohol and drugs are fuelling homicide and suicide rates in Northern Ireland, a new independent report by University of Manchester researchers has found, with alcohol appearing to be a key factor for the country's higher ...

Recommended for you

A walk at the mall or the park? New study shows, for moms and daughters, a walk in the park is best

November 17, 2017
Spending time together with family may help strengthen the family bond, but new research from the University of Illinois shows that specifically spending time outside in nature—even just a 20-minute walk—together can ...

Risk of distracted driving predicted by age, gender, personality and driving frequency

November 17, 2017
New research identifies age, gender, personality and how often people drive as potential risk factors for becoming distracted while driving. Young men, extroverted or neurotic people, and people who drive more often were ...

When male voles drink alcohol, but their partner doesn't, their relationship suffers

November 17, 2017
A study of the effect of alcohol on long-term relationships finds that when a male prairie vole has access to alcohol, but his female partner doesn't, the relationship suffers - similar to what has been observed in human ...

Spanking linked to increase in children's behavior problems

November 16, 2017
Children who have been spanked by their parents by age 5 show an increase in behavior problems at age 6 and age 8 relative to children who have never been spanked, according to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal ...

Multiplayer video games: Researchers discover link between skill and intelligence

November 15, 2017
Researchers at the University of York have discovered a link between young people's ability to perform well at two popular video games and high levels of intelligence.

Generous people give in a heartbeat—new study

November 15, 2017
Altruistic people are said to be "kind hearted" - and new research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that generous people really are more in touch with their own hearts.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.