A comparison of suicidal and nonsuicidal elders referred to a community mental health center program

E R Florio, M S Hendryx, J E Jensen, T H Rockwood, R Raschko, D G Dyck
Suicide & Life-threatening Behavior 1997, 27 (2): 182-93
Sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, and life stressors of community-dwelling suicidal risk and nonsuicidal risk elders referred to a community aging and mental health provider were compared in this study. Information was collected through case manager surveys and agency records on 683 older adults referred to the Elder Services Program of Spokane Mental Health in 1994 and the first 6 months of 1995. This sample included 109 individuals who were clinically judged to be at suicide risk by case managers at the time of initial assessment. Comparisons between suicidal risk and nonsuicidal risk elders indicated that suicidal elders were younger, more likely to be separated or divorced, and more likely to report a previous history of suicidal behavior. Results of a logistic regression analysis indicated that living alone, depression or anxiety disorder, and higher levels of emotional disturbance predicted suicide risk status. In addition, medical problems, family conflict, and relationship loss predicted suicide risk status in this particular sample. Individuals at suicide risk were also more likely to have a family physician than others. Implications of findings for identification and treatment of suicidal elders are discussed.


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