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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 249-254

Risk factors for suicide in elderly in comparison to younger age groups


1 Department of Psychiatry, KMCT Medical College, IQRAA International Hospital and Research Centre, Calicut, Kerala, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Government of Medical College, IQRAA International Hospital and Research Centre, Calicut, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
P N Suresh Kumar
Anaswara, Vazhathuruthi Road, P.O. Civil Station, Calicut, Kerala - 673 020
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.166614

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Background: The elderly population has a significant risk of suicide when compared to any other age group. Despite this, suicide among the aged receives scant attention. Hence, identification of suicide risk factors specific to this population will help in the development of suitable prevention strategies for this group. Aims: Comparison of risk factors for attempting the suicide in the elderly versus younger suicide attempters. Materials and Methods: A total 1159 suicide attempters attended the suicide prevention clinic of IQRAA International Hospital and Research Centre. They were evaluated using a specially designed psycho-sociodemographic proforma. The group was divided into those above 65 years (elderly) and those below 65 years (younger) and all the risk factors were compared between these two groups. Results: Most suicide attempters in the elderly category were found to be married, less educated, unemployed and hailed from a rural background and joint families. They had a higher rate of family history of psychiatric illness, past psychiatric illness, concurrent medical illness and history of medical contact in the three months prior to the attempt. A significant number in the elderly group had attempted suicide more than a week after a stressor. Conclusion: The results from this study suggests that in suicide attempters from Indian geriatric population, co-morbid physical illness, mental illness (particularly depression) and family burden of psychiatric illness are important predictors in comparison to younger populations. Also, these attempters had contact with a medical professional in the three months prior to the attempt. Specific preventive interventions need to be tailored for this population to reduce the risk of suicide rather than adopting generalized suicide prevention strategies.



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