Suicide by pesticide poisoning remains a priority for suicide prevention in China: analysis of national mortality trends 2006-2013

Andrew Page, Shiwei Liu, David Gunnell, Thomas Astell-Burt, Xiaoqi Feng, Lijun Wang, Maigeng Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

30 Citations (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Despite recent declines, suicide remains a priority for China. Ease of availability of high-lethality suicide methods, such as pesticides and firearms, contributes to the overall incidence and is an important target for suicide prevention. This study investigates whether changes in the distribution of methods of suicide have contributed to the recent reduction in suicide in China.

Method
Suicide rates (2006–2013) were calculated using the Chinese Disease Surveillance Points system, stratified by gender, age group, and urban-rural residence, to investigate trends in suicide over the study period. Multilevel negative binomial regression models were used to investigate associations between socio-demographic factors and method-specific suicide.

Results
The most common method of suicide in China for both males and females was pesticide poisoning, followed by hanging. All methods declined over the study period, with the exception of suicide by jumping in males. Suicide rates for pesticide poisoning and for hanging increased exponentially with age in those aged over ≥45 years in both sexes. Pesticide poisoning declined from 55% to 49% of all suicides, while hanging increased from 27% to 31%.

Limitations
This was an ecological study of a time series of suicide rates, with risk factor adjustment being limited to population-level point estimates derived from a single census.

Conclusions
Suicide by pesticide poisoning and hanging remain the leading methods of suicide in China. Changes to the safe use of pesticides and targeted prevention initiatives to restrict access, along with socio-economic development and urbanisation, are likely contributors to declines in suicide by pesticide poisoning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-423
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume208
Early online date2 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017

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