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The share of suicide in injury deaths in the South African context: sociodemographic distribution.

Authors
  • Burrows, S
  • Vaez, M
  • Butchart, A
  • Laflamme, L
Type
Published Article
Journal
Public Health
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2003
Volume
117
Issue
1
Pages
3–10
Identifiers
PMID: 12802898
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study describes the sociodemographic distribution of suicide deaths compared with other injury deaths in South Africa. Cross-sectional data for 26,354 cases were extracted from an injury surveillance database. These included all manners of injury death from 10 mortuaries for 1999-2000 (approximately 18-20% coverage of all injury deaths per year). They were used to examine the distribution of suicide across different sex, race and age groupings, and the relative involvement of alcohol across manners of death. The share of suicide as a cause of death was comparable for males and females, but varied considerably across races and age groups. It was twice as high for Whites as for Asians, and four times as high as for Coloureds and Blacks. For all races except Whites, suicides were concentrated in the younger age groups. Only among Whites was the proportion of alcohol-positive suicides higher or comparable with that for other manners of death. While homicides and unitentional injury deaths outnumbered suicides overall, the relative importance of suicide in some social groups is reason for concern. South Africa is a country undergoing profound transformations, and differences in the distribution of suicide across sociodemographic groups deserve attention.

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