Late life suicide in Italy, 1980–2015

Abstract

Aim

Suicide trends in older adults were examined in Italy from 1980 to 2015. Age groups considered were 65–74 years, 75–84 and 85 + years.

Methods

Data on suicide deaths were obtained from the Italian Mortality Database (IMDB) collected by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and processed by the Statistics Unit of the Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità). Joinpoint regression analyses were carried out for age subgroups by sex. In addition, data related to four main macro-areas of Italy were considered: North-West, North-East, Centre, and South with Islands (Sicily and Sardinia).

Results

Starting by 1985, declines were noted in all age groups with more noticeable decreases in older adults aged 75–84 and 85 + years. Female subjects demonstrated more ample falls in rates than male individuals. Declines were detected in all macro-areas of Italy.

Conclusion

Improved health assistance and quality of life of older individuals have probably contributed to the decline of suicide rates of senior citizens, who also showed improved poverty indices in the country, differently from all other age groups.

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Correspondence to Diego De Leo.

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De Leo, D., Vichi, M., Kolves, K. et al. Late life suicide in Italy, 1980–2015. Aging Clin Exp Res 32, 465–474 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-019-01431-z

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Keywords

  • Old age
  • Suicide rates
  • Italy
  • Macro-areas
  • Sex differences
  • Poverty indices
  • Threshold for seniority