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Mats Berglund Essay

At BioMedCental, an online peer-reviewed journal, the research article entitled “Repetition and severity of suicide attempts across the life cycle: a comparison by age group between suicide victims and controls with severe depression” was submitted on 22 February 2009, and after a number of revisions was accepted on 29 September 2009, and published the same day.

Written by Louise Bradvik and Mats Berglund (2009), researchers for the Department of Clinical Sciences and the Department of Clinical Alcohol Research, respectively, of the Division of Psychology of the Lund University Hospital, the study investigates the “reduced incidence for initial, repeated, or severe suicide attempts” for accomplished suicides according to age and gender controls. The initial hypothesis is that age has a predictive value on multiple and severe suicide attempts for accomplished suicides by gender; for this, the histories of past suicide victims as well as matched controls needed to be reviewed and analyzed.

Due to the introduction of the diagnosis of severe depression/melancholia in 1956, and the practice of rating inpatients on a multiaxial diagnostic schedule at discharge at the Department of Psychiatry of the Lund University Hospital in Sweden until 1969, the sample consisted of 100 records of suicide victims, 44 men and 56 women, with severe depression and matched controls who were admitted in the hospital between 1956 and 1969.

Since this study involved retrospective evaluation, a blindfolded procedure was used to choose the sample case records from the total sample wherein three evaluations of the cases were performed with the evaluator unaware of the outcomes of the suicides. The selections of matched controls, one for each suicide victim within the sample population, were based on the sex, age, and diagnosis. The retrospective evaluations of these records of the sample subjects were for the entire course of the depressions up to the deaths of the victims; these were monitored up to 2006.

The evaluations and analysis of the records were based on the occurrence of the suicide attempts, whether they were first, repeated, or severe, and the main considerations were based on their age groups and respective genders, with the number of observations years also factored in. For the quantitative part of the analysis, a Poisson regression was used to compare between age groups (5-year intervals) for both suicide victims and controls by gender, and between the sample of suicide victims and controls, also by gender. With a significance level set at 5%, two-tailed tests were used for this analysis.

After the evaluations and corresponding analyses, the researchers found that for both suicide victims and controls, older females had a reduced risk for initial suicide attempts, while only the controls and not the suicide victims showed this reduced risk in older males. On the other hand, repeated suicide attempts for older age groups appeared to be reduced for the female controls when compared to the female suicide victims. Lastly, for severe suicide attempts, a reduction in this risk appeared in the older age groups of female suicide victims, as well as the male controls relative to the male suicide victims.

Thus, taking all of these into consideration, it appears that in the older age groups, repeated suicide attempts can be predictive in women and severe suicide attempts can be predictive in men. Works Cited: Bradvik, L. and Berglund, M. (2009, September 29). Repetition and severity of suicide attempts across the life cycle: a comparison by age group between suicide victims and controls with severe depression. BMC Psychiatry, 9:62. doi:10. 1186/1471-244X-9-62 Retrieved from http://www. biomedcentral. com/1471-244X/9/62


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