a1 Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada
a2 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montreal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
a3 Department of Psychology, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
a4 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
a5 Centre de recherches de l'Hôpital Charles Lemoyne, Greenfield Park, Québec, Canada
Background: Factors associated with the wish to die should be investigated in order to gain more opportunities for preventive interventions targeting older adults at risk for suicide. The goal of the research was to study the prevalence and associated factors of wishes to die in older adults living in the community using the data from a survey on the prevalence of mental disorders in this population.
Methods: With a representative sample of community living older adults aged 65 years and over (N = 2777), we compared individuals with the wish to die (n = 163) to those without the wish to die on the basis of the presence and severity of daily hassles, physical illness, and sleep quality.
Results: Logistic regression revealed that when depression and sociodemographic variables were held constant, self-rated physical health, number of chronic illnesses, number and intensity of daily hassles, as well as sleep problems were significantly associated with the wish to die in older adults. Painful illnesses and daytime dysfunction due to sleep problems were also associated factors with the wish to die.
Conclusion: Since desire for death is the first step into the suicidal process, health professionals should seriously consider the important and unique contribution of these variables in order to have more opportunities for detection and intervention.
(Received January 24 2011)
(Revised February 07 2011)
(Revised June 22 2011)
(Accepted July 01 2011)
(Online publication August 16 2011)
c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Sylvie Lapierre, Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351 des Forges, Trois-Rivières, QC., Canada G9A5H7. Phone: 1-819-376-5011 ext. 3531; Fax: 1-819-376-5195. Email: Sylvie.Lapierre@uqtr.ca.