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Estimating Suicide Rates in Developing Nations: A Low-Cost Newspaper Capture-Recapture Approach in Cambodia


Harris, KM and Thandraven, J and Samphoas, C and Se, P and Lewchalermwongse, B and Ratanashevorn, R and Perry, ML and Britts, C, Estimating Suicide Rates in Developing Nations: A Low-Cost Newspaper Capture-Recapture Approach in Cambodia, Asia-Pacific journal of public health / Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health, 28, (3) pp. 262-70. ISSN 1010-5395 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2016 APJPH

DOI: doi:10.1177/1010539516634186


This study tested a low-cost method for estimating suicide rates in developing nations that lack adequate statistics. Data comprised reported suicides from Cambodia's 2 largest newspapers. Capture-recapture modeling estimated a suicide rate of 3.8/100 000 (95% CI = 2.5-6.7) for 2012. That compares to World Health Organization estimates of 1.3 to 9.4/100 000 and a Cambodian government estimate of 3.5/100 000. Suicide rates of males were twice that of females, and rates of those <40 years were twice that of those ≥40 years. Capture-recapture modeling with newspaper reports proved a reasonable method for estimating suicide rates for countries with inadequate official data. These methods are low-cost and can be applied to regions with at least 2 newspapers with overlapping reports. Means to further improve this approach are discussed. These methods are applicable to both recent and historical data, which can benefit epidemiological work, and may also be applicable to homicides and other statistics.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Cambodia capture-recapture epidemiology public health Southeast Asia suicide prevention vital statistics record systems estimation verbal autopsy ascertainment models media thailand deaths health Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Harris, KM (Dr Keith Harris)
ID Code:110307
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-07-24
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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