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May 2022

Changing patterns of suicide in Hong Kong

Journal/Book: Soc Psychiat Psychiat Epidem. 1996; 31: 175 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10010. Springer Verlag. 235-240.

Abstract: This paper aims to examine the changes in frequency, distribution and methods of suicide in the past 30 years in Hong Kong, and to explore the sociocultural factors behind such changes. Official data on suicides, undetermined deaths and seven social variables were used to estimate the age-, sex- and method-specific suicide rates and monthly occurrence of suicides, and to measure social changes. A low ''anomie'' status has been maintained for the past 30 years in Hong Kong. After accounting for undetermined deaths, suicide rates in adult males and young females (aged 15-24 years) decreased, while the rates in adult females remained stable. The phenomenon may be due to a protective effect of employment in males and by the changing status of women in Hong Kong. Suicide by jumping from heights became increasingly common, but appears to have substituted other means of suicide rather than increasing the overall suicide rate. Winter months had lower suicide rates, and the same circannual rhythm across diverse cultures speaks for a shared socio-biological process underlying suicide.

Note: Article TP Ho, Univ Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hosp, Dept Psychiat, Hong Kong, Hong Kong


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