Health Conditions and Passive Suicidal Ideation in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe

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Abstract

Objectives:

To examine the associations between health conditions and passive suicidal ideation in middle-aged and older adults.

Method:

Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted on data from 35,664 middle-aged and older adults from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. Mediation analyses were also conducted to test the roles of disability and depression in risk of ideation.

Results:

After including demographic variables, disability, depression, and other health conditions as covariates, heart attack, diabetes/high blood sugar, chronic lung disease, arthritis, ulcer, and hip/femoral fractures were associated with increased odds of passive suicidal ideation. When grouped by organ systems, conditions affecting the endocrine, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems were associated with increased odds of passive suicidal ideation, as was the total number of conditions. Individuals with greater numbers of health conditions exhibited greater levels of disability and depression, which partially explained the increased risk of passive suicidal ideation among those with more health conditions.

Discussion:

Certain specific health conditions, as well as total number of conditions, are associated with passive suicidal ideation in middle age and older adulthood. Health is a critical risk factor for suicidal ideation in late life and should be further studied in this particularly at-risk population.

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