Study identifies accelerated risk pattern of suicide towards age 21

November 29, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Suicide risk patterns accelerate up to the age of 20 before moderately levelling off, according to a new report published in the Cambridge Journal of Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences.

The study conducted by researchers from University College Dublin and St Vincent's University Hospital examined almost 12,000 suicide (and undetermined) deaths between the ages of 15 and 35 for Ireland and the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) between 2000 to 2006.

The study shows that males have a significant rate of increase in suicides up to 20, with a rate of increase of 94.6 cases per year before 20, compared with 23.7 cases per year after age 20. The differences for females was shown to be in the same direction but not statistically significant, with a rate of increase of 10.6 cases per year before age 20 and 5.7 cases per year after age 20.

The findings reveal that the current reporting of suicide in five-year age bands may conceal age-related periods of risk for suicide, and that this may have implications for programmes for young adults under age 21.

The study authors note that ageing in years towards 21 may simply coincide with the peak age of onset for major such as depression or psychosis in males. But that they are 'unable to explore this possibility due to the aggregation of data across age ranges of possible confounds such as mental illness and alcohol use in the existing international data'.

"Our findings challenge current international practice in which suicide mortality is reported in 5-year age bands, in that such reporting may eclipse age-related risk factors for such as that we have identified," said Professor Kevin Malone from the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, and St Vincent's University Hospital.

"We suggest that future reporting of national in years, as opposed to 5-year age bands, will facilitate more in-depth research and understanding of possible age-related periods of increased in young adults, where an epidemiological transition is apparent for young men before versus after age 21," added Professor Malone.

Explore further: Gap between Scottish and English suicide rates widens

Related Stories

Gap between Scottish and English suicide rates widens

February 9, 2012
A new study has revealed the widening gap in suicide rates between Scotland and England & Wales due to a large extent to the number of young Scottish men taking their lives.

Recommended for you

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

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.