Midlife suicides are on the rise | Science News



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Midlife suicides are on the rise

Middle-aged whites in the United States have emerged as a high-risk group for committing suicide

5:04am, October 21, 2008

A dark underside of middle-age has surfaced in the past decade. Although this phase of life is one psychologists have long considered a time of general stability and emotional well-being, white men and women ages 40 to 64 accounted for the bulk of a recent increase in the U.S. suicide rate, a new study finds.

Data gleaned from U.S. death certificates show that the overall suicide rate rose 0.7 percent annually between 1999 and 2005, reversing a downward trend in the rate that had begun in 1986. This increase primarily reflected a 2.7 percent annual rise in the suicide rate among middle-aged white men and a corresponding 3.9 percent annual rise among middle-aged white women, say epidemiologist Susan Baker of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and her colleagues.

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