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Behavior Characteristics and Risk Factors for Suicide Among the Elderly in Rural China

Liu, Bao-Peng MPH*; Qin, Ping PhD*†; Jia, Cun-Xian PhD*‡

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2018 - Volume 206 - Issue 3 - p 195–201
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000728
Original Articles

We examine the characteristics of suicide behavior and associated risk factors in the elderly in rural China, compared with the nonelderly. Paired case-control design and psychological autopsy were used for subject recruitment and data collection. The included cases were 104 suicides of the elderly aged 60 years or older, 86 suicides of the nonelderly, and sex- and age-paired controls from the same villages. Although the characteristics of suicide behavior were similar between the two age groups of victims, the elderly who died by suicide had a greater tendency to experience negative life events and not live with a spouse. Suicide of the nonelderly was associated with family history of suicide, poor social support, and impulsivity. The influence of negative life events on the risk of suicide was greater in the elderly. Thus, efforts for suicide prevention must be tailored to the needs of specific age groups.

*Department of Epidemiology, Shandong University School of Public Health, Jinan, China; †National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and ‡Center for Suicide Prevention Research, Shandong University School of Public Health, Jinan, China.

Send reprint requests to Cun-Xian Jia, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Shandong University School of Public Health, No.44, Wenhuaxi Rd, Lixia Dist., Jinan 250012, China. E-mail:

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