Year: 2012 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.(2011).41(4):453-464. SIEC No: 20120066

An ecological study of age-standardized suicide rates in Belgian communities (1996Ð2005) was conducted using spatial regression techniques. Community characteristics were significantly related to suicide rates. There was mixed support for the social integration perspective: single person households were associated with higher suicide rates, while religious participation was unrelated and both immigration and the presence of non-European inhabitants had a negative impact. Deprivation had a positive relation with suicide. Population density had a negative influence on suicide rates. Areas with older populations had higher suicide risks than expected. A spatial contagion effect of neighboring communities was present for men. In the conclusion, hypotheses are presented on why an aging population could be associated with higher suicide rates in the community.