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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

MARIN-LEON, Leticia  and  BARROS, Marilisa B A. Suicide mortality: gender and socioeconomic differences. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.3, pp. 357-363. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102003000300015.

OBJECTIVE: To describe suicide mortality trend and sociodemographic patterns identifying gender and socioeconomic differences. METHODS: The trend of crude rates of suicide mortality by sex in the city of Campinas, Brazil, for the period 1976-2001 was assessed. Data from the Mortality Registry were used for sociodemographic analyses in the period 1996-2001. An ecological approach was used to examine socioeconomic differences and the 42 city areas of health care units were classified into 4 homogeneous strata. Rates were age-adjusted using direct method. RESULTS: The city has a low suicide rate (less than 5/100,000) in comparison with other countries. Male excess mortality was over 2.7 male suicides for each female suicide. While in 1980-1985 the older group (55 years and older) had the highest suicide rates, in 1997-2001 the middle-aged adult group (35-54 years old) showed the highest ones. As for suicide methods, men used hanging (36.4%) and firearms (31.8%), while women used poisoning (24.2%) and firearms and hanging (21.2% each). Hangings led to death at home, while firearms or poisoning deaths took place more often in hospitals. Suicide is different from homicide in that there is no rate increase with lower socioeconomic level. CONCLUSIONS: Suicide rates are low with successive increments and decrements without consistent growing or lowering trends. The risk of dying by suicide is higher among men and does not increase with lower socioeconomic condition.

Keywords : Suicide [statistics & numerical data]; Mortality rate; Mortality [trends]; Socioeconomic factors; Age distribution; Epidemiology.

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