COHORT EFFECTS OF SUICIDE MORTALITY ARE SEX SPECIFIC IN THE RAPIDLY DEVELOPED HONG KONG CHINESE POPULATION, 1976–2010

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Abstract

Background

To examine temporal variations of age, period, and cohort on suicide mortality rate in Hong Kong (HK) from 1976 to 2010, and speculate the macroenvironmental mechanisms of the observed trends.

Methods

Poisson age-period-cohort modeling was used to delineate the effects of age, period, and cohort on suicide mortality. Analysis by sex was also conducted to examine if gender difference exists for suicidal behaviours.

Results

Age-cohort model provides the best fit to the mortality data, implying that the cohort effect is likely to explain more of the contributions to HK's suicide mortality pattern than the period effect. Risk of suicide mortality increases nonlinearly with age and accelerates after age 65–69 for both sexes. Moreover, the cohort effects differ between the sexes—risk of mortality increases continually for men born after 1961, but no change is observed for women since the 1941 cohort.

Conclusions

With increased risk of suicide mortality in younger cohorts and the age effect of suicide mortality, we may see future increase in suicide mortality as these younger cohorts age. Further studies are needed to clarify plausible associations between broader sociohistorical changes in the population impacting psychological risk factors and suicidal behaviour to better inform suicide prevention strategies.

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