Gender Differences in Older People with Regard to Suicide Risks after Somatic Hospitalization

Annette Erlangsen, Syddansk Universitet

Introduction: While older women on average survive longer than men, they also have a higher level of morbidity. In terms of suicide, oldest old men outnumber women. This might suggest that the association between somatic disorders and suicide is stronger for men than for women. Purpose: Our purpose is to analyze risk patterns of suicide with regard to gender and hospitalization for somatic diagnoses. Data and method: We use data on all persons in Denmark aged 50+ containing individual-level information on all hospitalizations to general hospital and various other demographic variables. Event-history analysis is applied to calculate the relative suicide risks during the period 1996-1998. Results: 1,978,527 persons entered the study. During the 3-year observation period, 1,273 persons committed suicide. With increasing somatic comorbidity, we find an increase in the relative suicide risk. Preliminary studies indicate that men react stronger in terms of suicide on somatic comorbidity than women.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging