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London, United Kingdom

Cooper C.,Charles Bell House | Rantell K.,Charles Bell House | Blanchard M.,Charles Bell House | McManus S.,NatCen for Social Research | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2015

Background Suicidal ideation is more strongly associated with suicidal intent in later life, so risk factors may also differ by age. We investigated whether the relationship between suicidal ideation and established correlates varied by age in a representative population. Methods We used data from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of England to assess the relationship between age and suicidal thoughts across 20-year age bands, using logistic regression, adjusted for survey weights. We used mediation analyses to assess the extent to which other factors mediate the relationship between suicidal thoughts and age. Results Reports of previous-year suicidal thoughts decreased with age. This was partly explained by (1) lower rates of reported child abuse (in those aged 75+), of depression, and of anxiety symptoms (in those aged 55+), factors all strongly associated with suicidal thoughts, and (2) higher rates of protective factors in people aged 35+, specifically homeownership and cohabitation. Rates of phobias, irritability and compulsions also decreased with age, and the association of these symptoms with suicidal thoughts was particularly strong in the youngest (16-34) age group. People who reported experiencing childhood abuse in all age groups reported more suicidal thoughts, suggesting abuse has lifelong negative effects on suicidal ideation. Limitations The response rate was 57%. Older people may be less likely to recall childhood abuse. Conclusions Sexual and physical abuse in childhood are associated with suicidal ideas throughout the lifespan, so screening for suicidal ideas in younger and older people should be routine and vigorous, and cover experiences in early life: management may require appropriate psychological interventions. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.

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