A sociological autopsy lens on older adult suicide in rural Australia: Addressing health, psychosocial factors and care practices at the intersection of policies and institutions

Scott J. Fitzpatrick, Donna Read, Bronwyn K. Brew, David Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper examines the interrelationship between suicide, health, socioeconomic, and psychosocial factors in contributing to suicide in older adults in rural Australia. Drawing on a coronial dataset of suicide cases and a mixed methods sociological autopsy approach, our study integrated a quantitative analysis of 792 suicide cases with a qualitative analysis of medico-legal reports from 30 cases. The sociological autopsy provided novel insights into the entanglement of policy and service provision at the state-level with individual end-of-life decisions. Particular attention is drawn to age and gendered dimensions of suicide, especially in relation to health and social issues. The study showed a continuity between suicide and the patterning of an individual's life course, including experiences and consequences of inequality and marginality; a desire to meet culturally–normative ideals of autonomy; and a fragmented, under-funded, and intimidating social care system that offered limited options.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114196
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume284
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

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