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Suicide Means Among Those 50 and Older Examined

Am J Geriatr Psych; ePub 2017 Jun 5; Choi, et al

Firearm use as a means of suicide decreased among men aged 50-64 years between 2005 and 2014, but its use did not change among other gender-by-age groups, a recent study found. The National Violent Death Reporting System, 2005-2014, provided data (n=46,857). Suicide means were identified from ICD-10 codes for underlying cause of death and coroner/medical examiners' (CME) reports. Researchers found:

  • In the 50-64 age group, each advancing year was associated with a 1% decrease in the odds of firearm use and a 6% increase in the odds of hanging/suffocation among men; a 9% increase in the odds of hanging/suffocation among women; and a 4% decrease in the odds of overdose among each gender.
  • In the ≥65 age group, each advancing year was associated with a 4% increase in the odds of overdose among men.
  • Physical health was a significant factor for firearm use among men only.
  • Regardless of gender and age, mental health and substance abuse problems and prior suicide attempts were associated with hanging/suffocation and overdose.


Choi NG, DiNitto DM, Marti N, Kaplan MS, Conwell Y. Suicide means among decedents aged 50+ years, 2005-2014: Trends and associations with sociodemographic and precipitating factors. [Published online ahead of print June 5, 2017]. Am J Geriatr Psych. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2017.06.001.

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