Urbanisation and declining suicide rates in China between 2005 and 2017

Philip Harford, Madelyn Agaciak, Jeffrey C.L. Looi, David Smith, Stephen Allison, Sherry Kit Wa Chan, Tarun Bastiampillai

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Abstract

Background: Worldwide suicide rates have declined since 2000s, with China being the primary contributor. This study aimed to investigate whether urbanisation is associated with decreasing suicide rates in China.

Methods: Suicide rates and economic indicators of 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions of China between 2005 and 2017 were analysed. Poisson random intercept models were used to determine associations between suicide rates, urbanicity, sexes, and gross regional product (GRP). Results: Between 2005 and 2017, suicide rates in 31 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions of China continued to decrease. Urbanicity and GRP were associated with decreased suicide rates among Chinese males and females. An increase in urbanicity by 1% was associated with a 2.2% decrease in suicide rates (p < 0.001). The most urbanised and populous cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin) had the lowest suicide rates. Urbanicity was associated with a greater decline in suicide rates among females, compared with males. Association between increased urbanicity and reduced suicide rates was independent of GRP.

Conclusion: Urbanisation was associated with declining suicide rates in China; this association was stronger among females than males.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalEast Asian Archives of Psychiatry
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • China
  • Suicide
  • Urbanization
  • Consortium of Australian-Academic

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