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How reliable are official data on attempted suicides? (based on Vienna 1989 statistics)

How reliable are official data on attempted suicides? (based on Vienna 1989 statistics)

Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 106(3): 63-68

The numbers for suicide attempts in Vienna 1989 from the following sources are compared: Statistical Department of the City of Vienna, hospital system of the City of Vienna, Vienna ambulance service, and Vienna Crisis Intervention Center. There are striking differences in the numbers reported by these institutions. In the data of the Statistical Department for the time period 1983 to 1989 there is a drastic decline of 56.5%, men exceeding women for the first time in decades. These results are not in agreement with the clinical experience of the authors. It is therefore possible that the official statistics underestimate the number of suicide attempts in Vienna. It appears the official data are markedly influenced by changes in the methods of data collection. Therefore, official numbers do not seem to be reliable and cannot be used to compare changes in suicide attempt frequency in the long run either. Possible reasons for the uncertainty of official numbers on suicide attempts are discussed.

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Accession: 046280953

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PMID: 8053206

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