Curtis, B. & Curtis, C. (2011). The origins of a New Zealand suicidal cohort: 1970-2007. Health Sociology Review, 20(2), 219-228.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5477
Many western countries have experienced increased rates of youth suicide over recent years. This has been an issue of particular concern in New Zealand, since it had the highest rate of youth suicide among OECD countries in the mid-1990s. However, while attention is drawn to the now declining youth suicide rate by politicians and policy-makers, what is obscured is a cohort effect. In this paper we will argue that a cohort effect is clearly visible; suicide rates among 15-24 year olds came to the fore in the mid-1980s, peaking 10 years later, and were displaced by that among 25-35 year olds by the late-1990s. Further, this century has been characterised by the rise of suicide rates among 35-44 year olds. This effect correlates with a dramatic downturn in the New Zealand economy in a five-year period bracketing 1970. We argue for an increased focus on social and economic factors underlying suicide.
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