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Suicide among older people in different European welfare regimes: Does the Active Ageing Index (AAI) have implications for suicide prevention?

Authors Jing Wu
Ying Li
Published in 2th International Seminar on Active Ageing Index (AAI), Bilbao, Spain, 27th – 28th September, 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Department of Sociology and Work Science
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Language en
Subject categories Older people and ageing


Objectives: The prevalence of suicide rates of older people in Europe varies strongly geographically. Welfare policies affect quality of life, and to some extent the suicide rate can be treated as a measure of ‘social health’. The aims of the study are to (1) identify suicide rates of older people in 28 European countries; (2) analyse the patterns of suicide mortality based on financial security which is shaped by the welfare models of these European countries. Method: Data of suicide rates of the age group 65 and over in 28 European countries were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) European Mortality Database (EMDB). Financial security was assessed by four indicators based on the EU-SILC (The European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions) survey: At risk of poverty rate, relative median income ratio, severe material deprivation and Gini coefficient. Linear mixed models were used for analysis. Results: Post-socialist countries showed higher poverty risk and material deprivation. Even though southern European countries and Islands countries had lowest suicide rates, a relatively lower income level and higher poverty risk cannot be ignored. Suicide rate was lower in northern countries than continental countries and post-socialist countries, however, relative median income showed similar pattern. Among older men in the continental countries, both poverty risk and relative median income ratio increased the likelihood of suicidality. Among older men in post-socialist countries the relative median income ratio decreased the likelihood of suicidality and severe material deprivation increased the likelihood of suicidality among older people in continental countries and among older women in post-socialist countries. Conclusions: The welfare regimes shape the context and exert influence on finanical security and may cause the variations on suicide mortality among older people. Future research should take into account on how to promote active ageing in different aspects of welfare context at macro level and in turn decrease suicide risk at micro level.

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