Suicide methods in Europe: A gender-specific analysis of countries participating in the 'European Alliance against Depression'



Varnik A, Kolves K, van der Feltz-Cornelis CM, Marusic A, Oskarsson H, Palmer A, Reisch T, Scheerder G, Arensman E, Aromaa E, Giupponi G, Gusmao R, Maxwell M, Pull C, Szekely A, Perez Sola V & Hegerl U (2008) Suicide methods in Europe: A gender-specific analysis of countries participating in the 'European Alliance against Depression'. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62 (6), pp. 545-551.

Objective: To identify the most frequent gender-specific suicide methods in Europe. Design: Proportions of seven predominant suicide methods utilised in 16 countries participating in the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) were reported in total and cross-nationally. Relative risk (RR) relating to suicide methods and gender was calculated. To group countries by pattern of suicide methods, hierarchical clustering was applied. Setting and participants: Data on suicide methods for 119 122 male and 41 338 female cases in 2000-4/5 from 16 EAAD countries, covering 52% of European population were obtained. Results: Hanging was the most prevalent suicide method among both males (54.3%) and females (35.6%). For males, hanging was followed by firearms (9.7%) and poisoning by drugs (8.6%); for females, by poisoning by drugs (24.7%) and jumping from a high place (14.5%). Only in Switzerland did hanging rank as second for males after firearms. Hanging ranked first among females in eight countries, poisoning by drugs in five and jumping from a high place in three. In all countries, males had a higher risk than females of using firearms and hanging and a lower risk of poisoning by drugs, drowning and jumping. Grouping showed that countries might be divided into five main groups among males; for females, grouping did not yield clear results. Conclusions: Research on suicide methods could lead to the development of gender-specific intervention strategies. Nevertheless, other approaches, such as better identification and treatment of mental disorders and the improvement of Lexicological aid should be put in place.

10; 30; 300; 40; ADULTHOOD; affective disorders; AFFECTIVE-DISORDERS; AFFILIATION; age; agency; alcohol; ALLIANCE; analysis; association; ASSOCIATIONS; Belgium; C; Classification; Communities; community; Community Health; Countries; data; DATABASE; DATE; Depression; Design; Development; Disorders; DRUGS; Economic; empirical; EPIDEMIOLOGY; EUROPE; European Alliance against Depression; EUROPEAN Commission; factors; Female; Females; Finland; FOUNDATION; Gender; gender-specific analysis; Germany; Health; HUNGARY; identification; IMPROVEMENT; independence; Information; Intervention; intervention strategies; ITALY; Jumping; language; location; Major Depression; Male; MALES; media; mental; Mental Disorders; Mental health; MENTAL-HEALTH; method; Methodology; methods; NETHERLANDS; NUMBER; objective; other; PARTICIPANTS; PATTERN; Peer Reviewed; Peer-Reviewed; PLACE; poisoning; Population; PORTUGAL; Prevention; PROPORTION; Psycinfo; Public health; Quantitative Studies; quantitative study; rank; RECORD; relative risk; RELEASE; Research; rights; risk; Risk Factors; Role; Science; Sciences; Scotland; Slovenia; Spain; Strategies; STRATEGY; Suicide; suicide methods; treatment

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health: Volume 62, Issue 6

Publication date30/06/2008
Date accepted by journal13/07/2007
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom

People (1)


Professor Margaret Maxwell

Professor Margaret Maxwell

Professor, NMAHP