Female Suicides in Major Texas Cities, 1994 Through 1998

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Abstract of Journal Article -- July 2003  

By V. Doddakashi, MD; R.E. Wilcox, PhD; and L.A. Hauser, MD  

From 1976 to 1985, Texas ranked first among states in the proportion of injury deaths caused by firearms, with an annual rate of 21.2 per 100,000. From 1995 to 1997, suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in Texas, claiming 2137 lives and accounting for 20% of all injury deaths in Texas. Firearm injuries significantly affect mortality rates in many states. The rates of suicide have continued to rise, particularly in young adults, and the rate of suicide by firearms has also increased significantly throughout the United States.

We have focused on the most common method of suicide by age and race among women in Texas from 1994 through 1998. This work extended that of Li et al on suicide in Austin, Travis County, Texas, from 1994 through 1998. Those investigators found that the most common method of suicide in females was by firearms. In this current study, we asked whether the Austin data for females were unique or were representative of other major cities in Texas, including Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. Our major finding was that the use of firearms was the most common method of suicide among women in all of these cities. Women aged from 35 to 44 years had the highest incidence of deaths, followed by those aged from 45 to 54 years. Hispanic women had the lowest rate of suicide compared with African American and white women.

Overall, rates of suicide among white males and females are at or higher than the US average in all Texas cities examined, except Dallas. Suicide rates among African-American males are at or below the US average, whereas the suicide rate for African-American females exceeds the national average. Nationwide rates for Hispanics were not available.


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