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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010141

Few Sex Differences in Hospitalized Suicide Attempters Aged 70 and Above

1
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Gothenburg, Blå Stråket 15, SU/Sahlgrenska, 413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden
2
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Gothenburg, Wallinsgatan 6, SU/Sahlgrenska, 431 41 Mölndal, Sweden
3
Institute of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Haraldsgatan 1, 413 14 Gothenburg, Sweden
4
University of Rochester Medical Center, 300 Crittenden Blvd, Box Psych, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Suicide Research)
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Abstract

Relatively little research attention has been paid to sex issues in late life suicidal behaviour. The aim was to compare clinical characteristics of women and men aged 70+ who were hospitalized after a suicide attempt. We hypothesized higher depression and anxiety scores in women, and we expected to find that men would more often attribute the attempt to health problems and compromised autonomy. Participants (56 women and 47 men, mean age 80) were interviewed by a psychologist. In addition to psychiatric and somatic health assessments, participants responded to an open-ended question concerning attributions of the attempt. There were no sex differences in depression and anxiety. Forty-five percent of the men and 14% of the women had a history of substance use disorder (p = 0.02). At least one serious physical disability was noted in 60.7% of the women and 53.2% of the men (p = 0.55). Proportions attributing their attempt to somatic illness did not differ (women, 14.5% vs. men 17.4%, p = 0.79), and similar proportions attributed the attempt to reduced autonomy (women, 21.8% vs. men, 26.1%, p = 0.64). We found strikingly similar figures for depression scores, functional disability and attributions for attempting suicide in older men and women. Larger studies are needed in diverse settings as sex differences might be influenced by cultural context. View Full-Text
Keywords: sex differences; suicide attempt; late life; depression; physical disability sex differences; suicide attempt; late life; depression; physical disability
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Wiktorsson, S.; Rydberg Sterner, T.; Mellqvist Fässberg, M.; Skoog, I.; Ingeborg Berg, A.; Duberstein, P.; Van Orden, K.; Waern, M. Few Sex Differences in Hospitalized Suicide Attempters Aged 70 and Above. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 141.

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