South Carolina's suicide mortality in the 1970s.
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South Carolina's suicide mortality in the 1970s.

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      In an epidemiologic study of suicide mortality among South Carolina residents for the years 1970--78, death certificates for 2,763 persons were reviewed. The overall suicide rates were lower than those observed in the same period for the United States. As expected, the highest rates were among white males; females and nonwhite males had rates with intermediate values, and nonwhite females, the lowest rates. Rates for white males increased up to age 75. All other race-sex groups peaked at much younger ages. An increase in suicide rates over time appeared in those under 25 years, and a slight decline was observed in residents aged 50--74. Age-race-sex-adjusted rates proved relatively stable over the 9 years. Geographically, race-adjusted rates by county varied from calculated expected values, with some suggestion of a pattern for the counties with the highest rates. However, no urban-rural differences were seen. Examination of methods used to commit suicide reveals that firearms were the most common means in all race-sex groups, accounting for 78.7 percent of deaths. The percentage of firearm users was almost identical among white males and white females, differing markedly from the country as a whole. Females of both race groups were more likely to have used poisons than males, but the percentage of those who used poisons was much less than would be expected from national data. This study confirms previous findings of sex and race differentials, rate changes with age, increasing rates in young people, and lower overall rates in the Southeast compared with the entire country. Interpretation of race-sex specific rates, together with suicide methods, lends support to the assertion that suicide rates are independent of methods. Rate trends by age groups over time are believed to have important implications.
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