Suicide among older people in relation to their subjective and objective well-being in different European regions
English title: Suicide among older people in relation to their subjective and objective well-being in different European regions
Author(s): Jing Wu - Airi Värnik - Liina-Mai Tooding - Peeter Värnik - Kairi Kasearu -
Type: Journal article
The aim of this study was to establish how different types of welfare state shape the context of everyday life of older people by influencing their subjective well-being, which in turn might manifest itself in suicide rates. Twenty-two European countries studied were divided into Continental, Nordic, Islands and Southern groups and post-socialist countries, which were subdivided into Baltic, Slavic and Central-Eastern groups based on their social-political and welfare organization. Suicide rates, subjective well-being and objective well-being data were used as parameters of different welfare states and obtained from the World Health Organization European Mortality Database, European Social Survey and Eurostat Database. This study revealed that the suicide rates of older people were the highest in the Baltic countries while in the Islands group the suicide rate was the lowest. The suicide rate ratios between the age groups 65+ and 0-64 were above 1 (from 1.2 to 2.5), except for the group of the Island countries with a suicide rates ratio of 0.8. Among subjective well-being indicators, relatively high levels of life satisfaction and happiness were revealed in Continental, Nordic and Islands countries. Objective well-being indicators like old age pension, expenditure on old age and social protection benefits in GDP were the highest in the Continental countries. The expected inverse relationship between subjective well-being indicators and suicide rates among older people was found across the 22 countries. We conclude that welfare states shape the context and exert influence on subjective well-being, and thus may lead to variations in risk of suicide at the individual level.
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Journal: European Journal of Ageing.