Individual and community factors for railway suicide: a matched case–control study in Victoria, Australia

Lay San Too, Matthew J Spittal, Lyndal Bugeja, Roderick McClure, Allison Milner

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to simultaneously examine individual- and community-level factors associated with railway suicide. Methods: We performed a case–control study in Victoria, Australia between 2001 and 2012. Data on cases of railway suicide were obtained from the National Coronial Information System (a database of coronial investigations). Controls were living individuals randomly selected from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia study, matching to cases on age groups, sex and year of exposures. A conditional logistic regression model was used to assess the individual-level and community-level influences on individual odds of railway suicide, controlling for socioeconomic status. Results: Individual-level diagnosed mental illness increased railway suicide odds by six times [95 % confidence interval (CI) 4.5, 9.2]. Community-level factors such as living in an area with a presence of railway tracks [odds ratio (OR) 1.8, 95 % CI 1.2, 2.8], within a city (OR 3.2, 95 % CI 1.9, 5.4), and with a higher overall suicide rate (OR 1.02, 95 % CI 1.01, 1.04) were independently associated with greater individual odds of railway suicide compared to living in an area without a presence of railway tracks, outside a city, and with a relatively lower overall suicide rate. Conclusions: The effects of mental illness and high incidence of overall suicides are prominent, but not specific on railway suicide. The effects of presence of railway tracks and city residence suggest the importance of accessibility to the railways for individual risk of railway suicide. Prevention efforts should focus on vulnerable people live in areas with easy access to the railways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-856
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Mental health
  • Railroads
  • Suicide

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