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Despite a burgeoning literature on some aspects of elder suicide, little is known about the specific attitudes that older people hold about suicide. The present study examined attitudes toward suicide and suicidal risk among 96 younger and 79 older adults. Participants completed the Suicide Opinion Questionnaire and the Suicide Risk Scale. Regarding suicidal risk, younger adults scored significantly higher than older adults. Regarding attitudes, older adults scored significantly higher than younger adults on 7 of 15 subscales, indicating that for older adults, suicide was more acceptable, more strongly related to a lack of religious conviction, more lethal, more normal, more irreversible or permanent, more strongly related to demographics, and more strongly related to individual aspects. An implication is that older adults hold both adaptive and maladaptive attitudes about suicide that may be useful in providing a social and cultural context to the study, prevention, and treatment of elder suicide.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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