Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 46, Issue 11, pp 1103–1114 | Cite as

Changes in rates, methods and characteristics of suicide attempters over a 15-year period: comparison between Stockholm, Sweden, and Würzburg, Germany

  • Ilze Bogdanovica
  • Guo-Xin Jiang
  • Cordula Löhr
  • Armin Schmidtke
  • Ellenor Mittendorfer-Rutz
Original Paper



To investigate age and sex-specific changes in rates, methods used and characteristics of suicide attempters receiving medical care, over a 15-year period in two European WHO catchment areas (Stockholm, Sweden; and Würzburg, Germany).


The data for this study were obtained from the WHO/EURO Multicentre Study on Suicidal Behaviour for the period 1989–2003. Sex-specific, person-based suicide attempt rates were calculated for each year separately for the age groups 15–24 and 25 or above. The Chi-square test for trend was applied to estimate changes in proportions of socio-demographic and socio-economic variables.


Significantly, increasing trends in suicide attempt rates occurred in young females, and in males and females aged 25 or above in Würzburg. On the contrary, men 25 years and above showed a significant decrease in suicide attempt rates in Stockholm. Young females in Würzburg tended to use less violent methods for their attempts whereas in Stockholm young females were increasingly inclined to attempt suicide using violent methods. In Stockholm, young female suicide attempters tended to be more often economically inactive, particularly due to an increasing proportion of students. Young females in Würzburg were often less well educated, as were their young male counterparts. This contrasted with trends in the education of men and women of 25 or above in Stockholm.


The results of this study suggest temporal changes in trends, methods used and in the social profile of suicide attempters.


Sweden Germany Suicide attempt Rates Methods Socio-economic 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilze Bogdanovica
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guo-Xin Jiang
    • 2
  • Cordula Löhr
    • 3
  • Armin Schmidtke
    • 3
  • Ellenor Mittendorfer-Rutz
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, City HospitalNottinghamUK
  2. 2.National Prevention of Suicide and Mental Ill-Health at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm County Council’s Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health, Department of Public Health SciencesKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Clinical PsychologyPsychiatric Hospital of the University of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Insurance MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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