Aggression in suicide among adults age 50 and over

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. Jan-Feb 2004;12(1):37-42.


Objective: Aggression confers risk for suicide in younger adults, but there is a paucity of research in middle and older adults. The authors examined the link between aggression and suicide in individuals age 50 and over.

Methods: Scores on general aggression and aggression in the past month were compared in 85 cases and 85 community-comparison subjects matched on age, gender, race, and county of residence. Bivariate and multivariate tests controlling for mood disorders were conducted, along with analyses to examine age- or gender-related patterns.

Results: General aggression distinguished Suicide from Control subjects in men and women and in younger (50-64 years) and older (65-plus) subjects. General aggression was more strongly related to suicide in individuals under age 65. Aggression in the past month was also higher in Suicide than in Control subjects from the total sample but was not consistently higher across age and gender strata. General aggression and past-month aggression were not associated with suicide after controlling for mood disorders.

Conclusions: The association of general aggression and suicide extends to middle and older adulthood, and aggression may serve as a marker for suicide risk before the onset of depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*