Suicide mortality in Italy: An update from 1955 to 1987

B. D'Avanzo, C. La Vecchia, E. Negri, B. Saraceno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suicide mortality in Italy over the period 1955-87 has been analysed in terms of age-specific and age-standardised death certification rates, and using a log-linear model to disentangle the effects of age, cohort of birth and calendar period at death. In males, the overall age-adjusted rate (on the World Standard population) was 8.6/100,000 in 1955-59, decreased to 6.7/100,000 in 1965-69, but steadily increased thereafter to reach 9.2/100,000 in 1985-87. In women, overall suicide mortality was 3.3/100,000 in 1955-59, decreased to 2.7/100,000 in 1965-69, and increased to 3.2/100,000 in the late 1980's. The percent rise over the last two decades was approximately 35% for males and over 15% for females, corresponding to an excess of over 1,000 deaths per year. The rise in males was attributable to both a period and a cohort effect, and appreciable increases were evident among younger generations over most recent periods. For females, trends at younger ages were more favourable, and the recent increases were essentially on a period of death basis. Recent unfavourable trends are discussed in relation to increased unemployment in Italy during the early 1970's, and to changes in psychiatric care delivery, since a radical psychiatric reform was implemented in Italy in 1978. Differences of trends for males and females, and comparison with suicide trends in other Western countries, however, would not support any simple relationship between these factors and national suicide rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalRevue d'Epidemiologie et de Sante Publique
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • age
  • cohort model
  • period
  • psychiatric reform
  • suicide
  • unemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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