ERIC Number: ED244173
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov-19
Reference Count: 0
Elderly Suicide Data Bases: Levels, Availability, Omissions.
McIntosh, John L.
General data on suicide among the elderly are available but the trends and levels often have been either ignored or misrepresented. Available data indicate that despite declines, suicide rates in the United States remain highest in old age. Impediments to understanding elderly suicide occur due to omissions in available national data bases. Inadequacies of available, official, national and other data include the omission of: marital status and time in that status; race/ethnicity; socioeconomic status; occupation (e.g., retired); living conditions (e.g., with whom); mental, physical, and chronic conditions; and historical information (e.g., past attempts). This and other information about elderly suicides would be useful to test etiological theories and determine high risk subgroups for intervention. The unavailability of various population data also produces problems, e.g., annual population data necessary for rate calculations are only available in aggregate from above age 85. Data essential for a more precise comprehension are either not available or are difficult and/or expensive to secure. The quantity and quality of currently available data allow little more than a general impression of elderly suicide. Better, more detailed information is recommended to improve the understanding and prevention of suicide in old age. (Author/BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society (36th, San Francisco, CA, November 17-22, 1983).