Suicide in Italian children and adolescents

Rita Campi, Angelo Barbato, Barbara D'Avanzo, Giuseppe Guaiana, Maurizio Bonati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Data and statistics on suicide mortality in several countries have been published and discussed over the last few decades but gaps in knowledge are present in the epidemiology of suicide among Italian youths. Methods: Suicide mortality data for the years 1973-2002 were obtained from the Italian Central Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). Age-standardized mortality rates were calculated and examined for trends over time. Results: During the last 3 decades the Italian population's overall suicide rate increased slightly from 67.8 per million in 1973 to 76.7 in 2002. Suicide rates were higher in males than females (2.8:1) and in Northern compared to Southern Italy. Suicide rates increased with age from 4.4 per million for children 10-14 years old to 25.8 (15-19 years) and 95.6 (≥ 20 years). The major increase over time was observed for 15-19 year old males. Limitations: Routine suicide mortality data have several weaknesses; these are especially, related to the level of accuracy in the certification of violent causes of death. Conclusion: A national research programme to study suicidal behaviour and risk factors in children and adolescents is essential. The permanent monitoring of the situation, exploring gender and interpersonal issues with the aim to plan protective initiatives in an appropriate manner, is also fundamental.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent behaviour
  • Child
  • Epidemology
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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