The suicide rate among elderly males, age 75 or older, is the highest of any special population. Estimates place the suicide rate for men 75 or older at 37.4 deaths per 100,000 and at 61.0 per 100,000 for men 85 or older. Within the elderly population, elderly men account for 81% of completed suicides, and white men who are age 85 and older had a rate of 49.8 suicide deaths per 100,000 or higher for the 85+ age group. This phenomenon is not limited to the United States, research shows men aged 75 years and older have the highest suicide rate among all age groups in almost all industrialized countries.
Men in this group have risk factors common to other populations, such as undetected or unmanaged depression, alcohol or drug use, and ready access to effective suicide means. They also have the risk factors that elevate suicide risk for men in general, such as poor or absent emotional reasoning skills, poor help seeking skills and fear of stigma from receiving mental health support. Men in this group also have the risk factors associated with working age males including grave health conditions, traditional male role pressures, changing or declining economic status, among others.
In addition to the burdens imposed by all of the risk factors above, a number of risk factors have been identified that are specific to men 75 years and older such as: loss of daily function, visual impairment, rapidly declining health, grief over the loss of their spouse, reduced living circumstances and social isolation. Given that a risk factor is defined as something that predisposes or increases the risk of a behavior or negative outcome, it should not be surprising that men 75 years and older have a very high risk of suicide. Even an elderly male with no suicidal tendencies carries a high risk for suicide.
Each report below presents an overview of published research literature, research and publically available data on topics of special interest to Idaho.
The overview is intended to give a good introduction to current research regarding the topic and concludes with a selected bibliography.
The research bibliography for each topic presents a much wider sample of peer-reviewed research articles. Many of the citations have links that goes to the abstract or full text of full journal article.
Elderly Males & Suicide Report (ages 75+)
Elderly Male Suicide Research Bibliographies: 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003