Attempted suicide and the elderly trauma patient: Risk factors and outcomes

Marie Crandall*, Fred Luchette, Thomas J. Esposito, Michael West, Michael Shapiro, Eileen Bulger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To analyze the scope and burden of hospitalizations for suicide attempts among elderly patients in the United States. METHODS: The National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL, 2002) was used for this study. It is a multistate database of hospitalizations for traumatic injury in the United States. Information on all patients reported to the database from 1995 to 2002 was analyzed. Logistic regression was used to analyze the risk factors for suicide attempt in elderly patients, compared with both a younger suicidal cohort and a cohort of elderly patients injured in a motor vehicle collision (MVC). The impact of age on outcome after failed suicide attempt was also analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 1,812 persons aged 65 and over were hospitalized for suicide attempts during the study period, comprising 9.5% of total hospitalizations for suicide attempts. Regression analysis demonstrated that elderly patients who attempted suicide were more likely to be male, white, to have used a firearm, and to have insurance than younger patients. They were more likely to have a psychiatric condition but less likely to have insurance than elderly patients hospitalized for MVCs. Mortality was higher for elderly patients hospitalized for suicide attempts than for younger patients who attempted suicide. Suicidal elderly were less likely to be discharged to home than either younger suicidal patients or elderly patients hospitalized after MVCs. CONCLUSIONS: The failed suicide attempt is an opportunity for intervention. By better understanding risk factors and outcomes of suicide attempts among elderly patients, we can identify higher risk groups and begin to tailor social service programs, psychiatric interventions, and medical care. A multimodality approach to suicide prevention for the elderly would include compassionate, appropriate, psychosocial interventions, and could be studied prospectively to analyze its impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1021-1027
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Elderly
  • Suicide
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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