The geography of suicide in older adults in Hong Kong: An ecological study

Yingqi Guo, Patsy P.H. Chau, Qingsong Chang, Jean Woo, Moses Wong, Paul S.F. Yip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract
Objectives
The geography of suicide has been widely explored among the general population. However, little is known of the geographic variations in suicides among the older adults and their spatial correlates. This study aims to explore the spatial variations in the elderly suicide rates and their correlates in Hong Kong.

Methods
Bayesian hierarchical models have been used to estimate smoothed standardized mortality ratios (2006-2015) on suicide in people aged 65 years or older in each geographic unit in Hong Kong. Their associations with the Social Vulnerability Index and the accessibility of eight types of services (ie, recreational services, rehabilitation services, food services, daily necessity services, community services, and transportation services) were further analyzed.

Results
The results suggested that compared with the simple “inner-city high suicide rate and suburban low” pattern in the Western studies and the “central low suicide rate and peripheral high” pattern in the Asian studies, the spatial variations of elderly suicides in Hong Kong exhibit a much more complicated pattern. In Hong Kong, higher elderly suicide clusters were found in both the lower-density areas located in the New Territories and in some inner-city areas. The spatial variations of suicide in the older adults cannot be explained by the Social Vulnerability Index. Instead, service provision such as recreational services, daily necessity resources, and community centers played a more significant role in affecting suicides in the older adults.

Conclusions
Strengthening public services, providing more public spaces and activities, and making good use of the community resources might be key and efficient strategies in elderly suicide prevention in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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