Suicidal behavior in four ethnic groups in the Hague, 2002-2004

Crisis. 2009;30(2):63-7. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910.30.2.63.


Background: Suicidal behavior is a severe public health problem.

Aims: To determine the rates of attempted and completed suicide among ethnic groups in The Hague, The Netherlands (2002-2004).

Methods: By analyzing data on attempted and completed suicide (from the psychiatric department of general medical hospitals; the psychiatric emergency service and the municipal coroners).

Results: Turkish and Surinamese females aged 15-24 years were at highest risk for attempted suicide (age-specific rate 545 / 100,000 and 421 / 100,000 person-years, respectively). Both rates were significantly higher than in the same age group of Dutch females (246 / 100,000 person-years). Turkish (2%) and Surinamese (7%) had lower repeat suicide-attempt rates than did Dutch (16%) females aged 15-24. Significantly lower suicide-attempt rates were found for Surinamese than for Dutch females aged 35-54 years. Differences were not explained by socioeconomic living conditions. The ratio fatal/nonfatal events was 4.5 times higher in males than in females and varied across age, gender, and ethnicity strata. Completed suicide was rare among migrant females. No completed suicides were observed in the Turkish and Surinamese females aged 15-24 years.

Conclusions: The study demonstrates a high risk of attempted suicide and a low risk of completed suicide among young Turkish and Surinamese females.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morocco / ethnology
  • Netherlands
  • Sex Ratio
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted / ethnology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suriname / ethnology
  • Turkey / ethnology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult