Suicide trends in South Africa, 1968-90
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Aims: A study was undertaken to investigate suicide rates and proportional mortality trends in South Africa from 1968 to 1990. Methods: Suicide rates per 100,000 population per year and suicide proportional mortality rates per year were calculated. The analyses were stratified by race, sex, and age group. Trends were interpreted using graphs depicting smoothed sex/race-specific suicide rates and proportional mortality rates over time. Regression models for suicide rates were fitted within specific age groups to test the effects of race, sex, and time. Further analysis was done within the specific age and race groups, if any interaction was found with time. Results: There were increases in suicide rate in the young (particularly for white males) and for whites aged 65 years and above (particularly for males). Conclusions: The finding that suicide among the young and elderly in South Africa is increasing suggests that preventive efforts are indicated, especially for white males. Trends for young South Africans mirror those in Europe and the USA, and attention to trends in these countries may predict future trends in youth suicide in South Africa.
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