Suicidal behavior on the subway often involves young people and has a considerable impact on public life, but little is known about factors associated with suicides and suicide attempts in specific subway stations. Between 1979 and 2009, 185 suicides and 107 suicide attempts occurred on the subway in Vienna, Austria. Station-specific suicide and suicide attempt rates (defined as the frequency of suicidal incidents per time period) were modeled as the outcome variables in bivariate and multivariate Poisson regression models. Structural station characteristics (presence of a surveillance unit, train types used, and construction on street level versus other construction), contextual station characteristics (neighborhood to historical sites, size of the catchment area, and in operation during time period of extensive media reporting on subway suicides), and passenger-based characteristics (number of passengers getting on the trains per day, use as meeting point by drug users, and socioeconomic status of the population in the catchment area) were used as the explanatory variables. In the multivariate analyses, subway suicides increased when stations were served by the faster train type. Subway suicide attempts increased with the daily number of passengers getting on the trains and with the stationsÕ use as meeting points by drug users. The findings indicate that there are some differences between subway suicides and suicide attempts. Completed suicides seem to vary most with train type used. Suicide attempts seem to depend mostly on passenger-based characteristics, specifically on the stationÕs crowdedness and on its use as meeting point by drug users. Suicide-preventive interventions should concentrate on crowded stations and on stations frequented by risk groups.
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