Current Research on Suicide and Parasuicide: Selected Proceedings of the Second European Symposium on Suicidal Behaviour, Edinburgh, June 1988

By Stephen David Platt; Norman Kreitman | Go to book overview

Attempted suicide by jumping from a height: a
five-year retrospective study

X. POMMEREAU, P. TEDO and F. PENOUIL

In France, jumping from a height is the method used by 4 per cent of male and 10 per cent of female suicide completers ( Davidson and Philippe, 1986). In England and Wales, we observe the same rate among male completers but only 5 per cent among female completers ( McClure, 1987). However, among women, the rate of suicide mortality by jumping has risen by 67 per cent during the period 1975-84 (Table 1).

On the other hand, attempted suicide by jumping from a height is a rare event concerning, on average, only one or two suicide attempters out of 100 (Table 2). Despite the spectacular nature of this method and its emotional impact on the general population, the fact that it is a rare event probably explains both the small


TABLE 1: Numbers (and rates per million population) for suicide by jumping from a high place (E 957) in England and Wales, 1975-84(*)
1975 1984
Number Rate Number Rate Change in rate 1975-84
Female461.8773.0+67
Male1104.61444.7+2
(*)Data from McClure ( 1987)

TABLE 2: Frequency percentage rate of jumping among suicide attempters
Source Number of patients Percentage jumping
%
Davidson and Philippe ( 1986),32731.1 (male)
1980-Lyon, Bas-Rhin 1.3 (female)
Garros et al. ( 1988),50002
1986-Aquitaine

-153-

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