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Influence of cohort effects on patterns of suicide in England and Wales, 1950–1999

  • David Gunnell (a1), Nicos Middleton (a1), Elise Whitley (a1), Daniel Dorling (a2) and Stephen Frankel (a3)...

Abstract

Background

Age- and gender-specific suicide rates in England and Wales have changed considerably since 1950.

Aims

To assess whether cohort effects underlie some of these changes.

Method

Graphical displays to assess age–period–cohort effects on suicide for the period 1950–1999.

Results

Successive male birth cohorts born after 1940 carried with them, as they aged, a greater risk of suicide than their predecessors although this effect diminished for the 1975 and 1980 birth cohorts. There was less clear evidence of any increased risk of suicide in post-war female birth cohorts.

Conclusions

Succeeding generations of males born in the post-war years have experienced increasing rates of suicide at all ages, an observation in keeping with patterns seen in other countries. If these trends continue into middle- and old-age they will lead to a great increase in overall male suicide rates.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr David Gunnell, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PR, UK. Tel: +44 (0)117 928 7253; Fax: +44 (0)117 928 7236; e-mail: D.J.Gunnell@Bristol.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Influence of cohort effects on patterns of suicide in England and Wales, 1950–1999

  • David Gunnell (a1), Nicos Middleton (a1), Elise Whitley (a1), Daniel Dorling (a2) and Stephen Frankel (a3)...
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