Estimating suicide rates in developing nations: A low-cost newspaper capture-recapture approach in Cambodia

Keith M. Harris, Joanne Thandrayen, Chien Samphoas, Pros Se, Boontriga Lewchalermwongse, Rattanakorn Ratanashevorn, Megan L Perry, Choloe Britts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 3.8/100000 (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 3.5/100000. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Volume28
Issue number3
Early online date10 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2016

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