Suicide of first-generation immigrants in Australia, 1974-2006

Naoko Ide, Kairi Kõlves, Maria Cassaniti, Diego De Leo
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2012, 47 (12): 1917-27

PURPOSE: This study analysed suicide rates among first-generation immigrants in Australia from 1974 to 2006, and compared their suicide risks against the Australian-born population. It also examined the associations between the suicide rates of immigrants from 23 selected countries of birth during 2001-2006, and in their home countries.

METHOD: Age-standardised suicide rates (15+ years) and rate ratios, with a 95 % confidence interval, during 1974-2006 were calculated for country of birth (COB) groups. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was calculated between COB-specific immigrant suicide rates during 2001-2006 in Australia and in their homelands.

RESULTS: Suicide rates showed a decreasing time-trend among all COB groups for both genders in Australia. The lowest suicide rates were found during 2004-2006, compared to other year groups. Throughout the study period, males born in Eastern, Northern and Western Europe and New Zealand had the highest suicide rates in Australia. For females, the highest rates were among those born in Western Europe and the UK (including Ireland). Male and female migrants born in North Africa and the Middle East, Southern and Central Asia and South East Asia showed the lowest suicide rates. There was a significant correlation between male immigrant suicide rates by COB and the rates of their home countries.

CONCLUSION: The patterns of suicide rates in immigrants were influenced by the social and cultural norms of their COB. The overall decrease in suicide risk among immigrants was particularly evident in males.

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