Violent Death in a Metropolitan County: II. Changing Patterns in Suicides (1959-1974)

Ford, Amasa B.; Rushforth, Norman B.; Rushforth, Nancy; Hirsch, Charles S.; Adelson, Lester
May 1979
American Journal of Public Health;May79, Vol. 69 Issue 5, p459
Academic Journal
Abstract: Suicide rates in Cuyahoga County (metropolitan Cleveland) rose from 10.2 in 1958 to 12.5 per 100,000 population in 1974 (23 per cent increase) with the greatest rise among nonwhite males (from 5.9 to 13.1, or 122 per cent). Increased rates were observed in both the city (19 per cent increase) and suburbs (35 per cent increase). Rates increased among young nonwhite and white adults of both sexes aged 15-34 years, but decreased slightly among adults aged 65 years and older. These findings are consistent with national trends. Alcohol was present in the blood of one-fourth of the individuals who were "dead on arrival," and at intoxicating levels in 20 per cent. There were increasing percentages of victims with positive blood alcohol and with intoxicating levels during the study period. White male victims in the city had significantly higher frequencies of such findings than their counterparts in the suburbs. The rates of suicide committed by firearms rose among all race-sex groups, with the greatest increase among city nonwhite males (2.1 to 7.7, or 267 per cent). Suicide by chemical agents (roughly one-half being barbiturates) increased in all groups except city nonwhite males, with the greatest increase among white males and suburban white females. Firearms among males and poisoning among females displaced asphyxia as the leading modes of suicide.


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