The authors studied the 1-month frequency of suicidal feelings among very old people.
A population sample (N=345) of nondemented 85-year-olds in Gothenburg, Sweden, were examined by a psychiatrist.
Suicidal feelings were rated by the system of Paykel et al.
Mental disorders were diagnosed according to DSM-III-R.
Of the mentally healthy subjects (N=225), 4.0% had thought during the last month that life was not worth living, 4.0% had had death wishes, and 0.9% had thought of taking their own lives.
None had seriously considered suicide.
The figures were higher among subjects with mental disorders (N=120) : 29.2% had thought that life was not worth living, 27.5% had had death wishes, 9.2% had thought about taking their lives, and 1.7% had seriously considered suicide.
Among the subjects with mental disorders, including depression, suicidal feelings were associated with greater use of anxiolytics but not ofantidepressants.
Women who felt that life was not worth living had a higher 3-year mortality rate than did women without these feelings (43.2% versus 14.2%). This finding was independent of concomitant physical and mental disorders.
Mild suicidal feelings are common in elderly subjects with mental disorders but infrequent in the mentally healthy.
The substantially higher mortality rate in women who felt that life was not worth living, compared to women who did not, suggests these feelings must be taken seriously. (...)
Mots-clés Pascal : Idée suicide, Vieillard, Homme, Age 80-89, Association morbide, Trouble psychiatrique
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Suicide ideation, Elderly, Human, Age 80-89, Concomitant disease, Mental disorder
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 96-0395485
Code Inist : 002B18E. Création : 10/04/1997.