Marked decrease in suicide among men and women in the former USSR during perestroika


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Abstract

At the same time as substantial and rapid socio-political and socio-economic changes took place during the period of perestroika, suicide rates in the former USSR decreased by approximately 32% for men and 19% for women. The decreases in the suicide rates of men in the former USSR were unlike the suicide rate decreases taking place in 22 other European countries, where rates decreased by approximately 8% for men and 17% for women during this time period. Declines in suicide rates from 1984 to 1986-1988 occurred in all republics, with the largest decreases in Russia and Belarus, at 42% for men and 20% for women. The decrease in suicide rates of men in the former USSR was most pronounced until 1986-1988, after which time an increasing trend was observed. Suicide rates for men in the former USSR decreased 3.8-fold more than they did for men in other parts of Europe, while decreases in the suicide rates for women in the former USSR were on the same level as in Europe.

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