Undetermined deaths: are they suicides?

Croat Med J. 2003 Oct;44(5):550-2.


Aim: To investigate the characteristics of undetermined deaths by examining similarities and differences between undetermined deaths and other death categories, such as suicides, fatal traffic accidents, and remaining deaths.

Methods: The group of undetermined deaths was compared to other death categories with respect to sex, age, marital status, and month of death of the deceased. A total yearly number of 18.508 deaths in Slovenia in 2001 was analyzed.

Results: Significantly more men died in fatal traffic accidents and committed suicide than from undetermined causes. Persons dying in fatal traffic accidents and committing suicides were significantly younger than those dying from undetermined causes of death, whereas persons dying from remaining causes of death were older. The marital status profiles of persons dying from undetermined causes and those committing suicides were similar. Also, undetermined deaths and suicides were both more likely to occur in April and May.

Conclusion: Underestimation of actual number of suicides could be assumed, given the similarities with the group of undetermined deaths in both seasonality and marital status. As some differences were obtained between the two groups in sex and age, we may conclude that some cases of older women suicides are concealed within the undetermined deaths group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Cause of Death / trends*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Slovenia / epidemiology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*