Objective: The aim of this study is to analyse the dynamics of suicide rates in Latvia 1980-98, when dramatic social and economical changes took place. Special attention is given to demographic risk groups and major socioeconomic correlates influencing the dynamics of suicide rates.
Method: Descriptive statistics of suicide rates and major social and economical correlates.
Results: During 1980-98 there were rapid swings of suicide rates. The increase was generated mainly by males reaching a maximum of 72 per 100 000 population in 1993. The sudden drop in gross domestic product, the rapid increase in first-time alcohol psychosis and the percentage of people unemployed did not correspond strictly with the dynamics of suicide rates.
Conclusion: Demographic and socioeconomic factors could not explain sufficiently the rapid changes in suicide rates in Latvia during the years 1980-98; psychological factors also have to be considered.