The Big Ten Student Suicide Study: a 10-year study of suicides on midwestern university campuses

Suicide Life Threat Behav. Fall 1997;27(3):285-303.


The Big Ten Student Suicide Study was undertaken from 1980-1990 to determine the suicide rates on Big Ten University campuses. The study design attempted to address many of the statistical and epidemiological flaws identified in previous studies of campus student suicides. The 10-year study collected demographic and correlational data on 261 suicides of registered students at 12 midwestern campuses. The largest number of suicides for both males and females were in the 20-24-year-old age group (46%), and amongst graduate students (32%). The overall student suicide rate of 7.5/100,000 is one half of the computed national suicide rate (15.0/100,000) for a matched sample by age, gender, and race. Despite the overall lower suicide rate, the analyses revealed that students 25 and over have a significantly higher risk than younger students. Although women have rates roughly half those of men throughout their undergraduate years, graduate women have rates not significantly different from their male counterparts (graduate women 9.1/100,000 and graduate men 11.6/100,000).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities*