The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)


Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempts in Depressed Older Adults Globally

TYRA R. JUDGE1, ALICIA M. DELOUIZE1, PAUL KOWAL1,2,3, NIRMALA NAIDOO2, SOMNATH CHATTERJI2 and J. JOSH SNODGRASS1.

1Anthropology, University of Oregon, 2(Switzerland), World Health Organization, 3(Australia), University of New Castle Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

It is estimated that suicide accounts for 800,000 deaths per year and rates tend to increase in older adulthood. While 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), most studies on suicide have been done in wealthy nations. Here, we examine the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in people who are depressed and show that there is great variation among LMICs in the Study for global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). Suicidality was high, with different countries having 25% (in China) to 53% (in South Africa) of people who were depressed having suicidal thoughts and 4% (in Mexico) to 26% (in South Africa) of people who were depressed having attempted suicide. Predictors of suicidal thoughts and attempts varied widely by country and gender, with poor health being the most common predictor (B's = 0.10 to 2.20, p's < .01 in China, Russia, India, and Ghana), followed by wealth (B's = -2.71 to 1.03, p's < .05 in China and Ghana), age (B's = -0.14 to 0.03, p's < .05 in Mexico and Ghana), declines in cognitive functioning (B's = -0.78 to 0.53, p < .05 in South Africa), being single, divorced, or widowed (B's = -1.85 to 1.77, p < .05 in India), and a lack of social cohesion (B's = -0.16 to 0.11, p < .05 in South Africa). Our results demonstrate that while these predictors vary widely, they appear to be primarily driven by socioeconomic and cultural factors.

Support: NIH NIA Interagency Agreement YA1323-08-CN-0020; NIH R01-AG034479; Ministry of Health in Mexico; University of Oregon Bray Fellowship.


Slides/Poster (pdf)