Functional disability and death wishes in older Europeans: results from the EURODEP concerted action

M.M. Fassberg, S. Ostling, A.W. Braam, K. Backman, J.R.M. Copeland, M. Fichter, S.L. Kivela, B.A. Lawlor, A. Lobo, H. Magnusson, M.J. Prince, F.M. Reischies, C. Turrina, K. Wilson, I. Skoog, M. Waern

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Purpose: Physical illness has been shown to be a risk factor for suicidal behaviour in older adults. The association between functional disability and suicidal behaviour in older adults is less clear. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between functional disability and death wishes in late life. Methods: Data from 11 population studies on depression in persons aged 65 and above were pooled, yielding a total of 15,890 respondents. Level of functional disability was trichotomised (no, intermediate, high). A person was considered to have death wishes if the death wish/suicidal ideation item of the EURO-D scale was endorsed. Odds ratios for death wishes associated with functional disability were calculated in a multilevel logistic regression model. Results: In total, 5 % of the men and 7 % of the women reported death wishes. Both intermediate (OR 1.89, 95 % CI 1.42; 2.52) and high functional disability (OR 3.22, 95 % CI 2.34; 4.42) were associated with death wishes. No sex differences could be shown. Results remained after adding depressive symptoms to the model. Conclusions: Functional disability was independently associated with death wishes in older adults. Results can help inform clinicians who care for older persons with functional impairment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1475-1482
    JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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