Suicides in Visually Impaired Persons: A Nation-Wide Register-Linked Study from Finland Based on Thirty Years of Data
Meyer-Rochow, Viktor Benno; Hakko, Helinä; Ojamo, Matti; Uusitalo, Hannu; Timonen, Markku (2015)
Meyer-Rochow, Viktor Benno
Plos ONE 10 10
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Focusing on seasonality, gender, age, and suicide methods a Finnish nation-wide cohort-based study was carried out to compare suicide data between sighted, visually-impaired (WHO impairment level I-II, i.e., visual acuity >0.05, but <0.3) and blind (WHO impairment level III-V, i.e., visual acuity <0.05) victims. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) of age- and gender-matched populations from official 1982–2011 national registers were used. Group differences in categorical variables were assessed with Pearson's Chi-square or Fisher's Exact test and in continuous variables with Mann-Whitney U-test. Seasonality was assessed by Chi-square for multinomials; ratio of observed to expected number of suicides was calculated with 95% confidence level. Hanging, poisoning, drowning, but rarely shooting or jumping from high places, were preferred suicide methods of the blind. Mortality was significantly increased in the visually impaired (SMR = 1.3; 95% CI 1.07–1.61), but in gender-stratified analyses the increase only affected males (1.34; 95% CI = 1.06–1.70) and not females (1.24; 95% CI 0.82–1.88). Age-stratified analyses identified blind males of working age rather than older men (as in the general population) as a high risk group that requires particular attention. The statistically significant spring suicide peak in blind subjects mirrors that of sighted victims and its possible cause in the blind is discussed.
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