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Age Variation in the Prevalence of DSM-IV Disorders in Cases of Suicide of Middle-Aged and Older Persons in Sydney

Authors

  • John Snowdon MD, FRANZCP,

    1. John Snowdon, Clinical Professor, University of Sydney; Brian Draper, Professor, University of New South Wales; Marianne Wyder, Research Fellow, Australian Institute for Suicide Research & Prevention.
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  • Brian Draper MD, FRANZCP,

    1. John Snowdon, Clinical Professor, University of Sydney; Brian Draper, Professor, University of New South Wales; Marianne Wyder, Research Fellow, Australian Institute for Suicide Research & Prevention.
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  • Marianne Wyder PhD

    1. John Snowdon, Clinical Professor, University of Sydney; Brian Draper, Professor, University of New South Wales; Marianne Wyder, Research Fellow, Australian Institute for Suicide Research & Prevention.
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  • Funding for this pilot study was provided by the NSW Department of Health. The authors thank the staff of the NSW (Glebe) Coroner’s Office for their unstinting help, both in identifying relatives of people who died by suicide and for making available files from which to extract data. We thank Annette Altendorf for guidance on statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Prof. J. Snowdon, Jara Unit, Concord Hospital, NSW 2139, Australia; E-mail: jsnowdon@mail.usyd.edu.au

Abstract

Data concerning 127 persons aged 35 years or above who died by suicide (as determined in consecutive cases by a Sydney coroner) were analyzed. Psychological autopsy (PA) interviews were conducted in 52 cases, and details were compared with the 75 cases where data were available only from coroner’s files (CF). Most characteristics of the two groups were similar, although more CF suicide victims were of Asian background and unable to speak English fluently. Consensus diagnoses were reached following detailed discussion about PA and CF cases. Logistic regression showed no significant difference between age-groups in the proportion diagnosed with major depression, which contrasts with the results of an earlier U.S. study.

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