Suicide of Older People in Asian Societies: An International Comparison

Authors: Lau, B.W.K. and Pritchard, C.

Journal: Australasian Journal on Ageing

Volume: 20

Pages: 196-203

ISSN: 1440-6381

DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2001.tb00386.x


Objective : To verify in a systematic study if the Chinese tradition of venerating older people results in lower suicide rates compared to other countries. Method: The ratio between suicide rates in the older population and total population were calculated and used to compare 40 countries. Results: The highest male suicide ratios in the world were found in Urban China, Singapore, Rural China and Hong Kong. Singapore, Urban China and Hong Kong had the worst female suicide ratios. The highest rate of suicide among females was in Rural China, which also had the highest suicide rate among older people. Conclusion: These findings raise questions about the adequacy of support to older Asian people. It is surprising that high suicide rates are found in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Singapore, which are affluent societies. The possibility of this being the result of ageism is discussed. Country-specific research is needed to improve suicide prevention measures, especially for older people.

Source: Manual