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.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News