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Geriatrics 2016, 1(3), 23; doi:10.3390/geriatrics1030023

Medically Serious and Non-Serious Suicide Attempts in Persons Aged 70 and Above

Section for Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Gothenburg University, 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden
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Academic Editor: Robert C. Abrams
Received: 13 July 2016 / Revised: 26 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Depressive Disorder in the Elderly)
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Abstract

High rates of suicide are observed among older adults in many countries worldwide. In clinical settings, those who make a medically serious suicide attempt are generally considered to be at higher risk of subsequent suicide than those who make less serious attempts. Medically serious attempts in older clinical cohorts are, however, relatively understudied. The aim was to compare older adult suicide attempters (70+) who did or did not make medically serious attempts. We hypothesized, in line with the Interpersonal Model of suicide, that social problems and feelings of being a burden would be associated with medical seriousness. Participants (n = 101) were recruited in hospitals in the aftermath of a suicide attempt; they took part in an interview with a research psychologist. Attempters with (n = 28) and without (n = 73) medically serious attempts were compared. Major depression was common in both groups, and scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale did not differ. However, older adults who made medically serious attempts scored higher on the Brief Scale of Anxiety and lower on the Mini Mental State Examination than their peers who made less serious attempts. Medically serious attempters more often attributed the attempt to social problems as well as problems with functioning and autonomy, but perceived burdensomeness was not associated with seriousness. Findings may help to inform clinicians who meet and treat older suicidal persons. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide attempt; medically serious; older adults; depression; anxiety; antidepressant treatment suicide attempt; medically serious; older adults; depression; anxiety; antidepressant treatment
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Wiktorsson, S.; Olsson, P.; Waern, M. Medically Serious and Non-Serious Suicide Attempts in Persons Aged 70 and Above. Geriatrics 2016, 1, 23.

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