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J Epidemiol Community Health. 1982 March; 36(1): 43–48.
PMCID: PMC1052193

The accuracy of officially reported suicide statistics for purposes of epidemiological research.


Suicide is underreported for a number of reasons and the reliability of the official rates is subject to error from variation in defining and reporting cases--the kind of inaccuracies encountered when ascertaining cases in studies of mortality from any cause. Nevertheless, the evidence from studies designed to see whether these sources of error invalidate the differences reported between cultural and social groups indicate that they are randomised, at least to an extent that allows epidemiologists to compare rates between countries and districts within them, between demographic groups, and over time.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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  • Jennings C, Barraclough B. Legal and administrative influences on the English suicide rate since 1900. Psychol Med. 1980 Aug;10(3):407–418. [PubMed]
  • Brugha T, Walsh D. Suicide past and present--the temporal constancy of under-reporting. Br J Psychiatry. 1978 Feb;132:177–179. [PubMed]

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