Trends in white male adolescent, young-adult, and elderly suicide: Are there common underlying structural factors?


Journal Article

Disaggregation of suicide trends by age, sex, and race reveals that, since World War II, the most dramatic changes have occurred among white males at the adolescent, young adult, and elderly ages. This study utilizes social indicator time series regression models to determine if these trends are differentially affected by underlying structural factors. Structural factors, identified through application of Durkheimian anomie and social disintegration theses, include trends in economic status, marital status, household composition, government support programs, and cohort size. Findings indicate that (1) changes in family structure and relative cohort size contribute to the variation in the adolescent and young-adult white male suicide trends; (2) the suicide trends of the young-old white male population are associated with trends in elderly widowhood, Social Security benefits, and elderly cohort size; and (3) none of the social indicators included in this analysis explains the suicide trends among the old-old white male population. Therefore, these population subgroups are differentially affected through structural factors which are variably salient for specific groups at different stages in the life course. © 1994 Academic Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McCall, PL; Land, KC

Published Date

  • January 1, 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 57 - 81

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0049-089X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1006/ssre.1994.1003

Citation Source

  • Scopus