Suicide amongst Cambridge University Students 1970–1996
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Background: Anecdote, media coverage and earlier research suggest that the rate of suicide amongst students at Cambridge and Oxford Universities is unduly high. There is also a popular belief that student suicide is common at examination times. Method: Student deaths at the University of Cambridge were identified using the University database. The cause of death was determined by reference to death certificates and coroners' inquest records. Results: We identified 157 student deaths during academic years 1970–1996, of which 36 appeared to be suicides. The overall suicide rate was 11.3/100,000 person years at risk. Suicide rates were similar to those seen amongst 15- to 24-year-olds in the general population. There were non-significant trends for male postgraduates to be over-represented and first-year undergraduates under-represented. Examination times were not associated with excess suicide. Conclusions: Suicide rates in University of Cambridge students do not appear to be unduly high.
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