Special Interest Group - Suicide and Self-harm in Middle-aged Adults


Suicide is among the leading causes of death in middle-age adults worldwide; however, suicide research, as well as prevention priority, focusing on this age group has been insufficient when compared with the efforts invested in other age groups.

Middle adulthood, defined as the time between ages 40 to 64 years old, is generally a period of good physical health but is marked by heavy personal, social and familial obligations and responsibilities. People in middle adulthood continue to develop relationships and adapt to the transitional changes in relationships that may be the interacting with growing and grown children and aging parents. Social involvement is fairly common of this stage of adulthood, as well as continued career development. While physical and mental capacity begins to decline, the middle aged might become more sensitive to stress and health problems. Suicide and suicidal behavior in middle adulthood are thus often associated with the trials and tribulations experienced by this specific age group and related to personal reasons and brought on by situational factors.

Suicides and non-fatal self-harm in middle-aged adults contribute to a large proportion of potential years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death in society, regardless of country and region. At the same time, suicide and self-harming behavior of middle-aged adults could have a profound and persisting influence on family relatives of three generations: children, spouse and siblings, and parents.

There is little to debate that suicide and self-harm in middle-aged adults should receive increased awareness and investment of research and prevention. The proposed SIG will aim to initiate activities focusing on this.


The main goal is to enhance our understanding of suicide and self-harm in middle adulthood as important health and social problems, and to support research and network between researchers dedicated to the study and prevention of suicide and self-harm in this group population.

Specific tasks and objectives:

Ongoing and upcoming activities:

Professor Ping Qin, National Center for Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Oslo;
Professor Paul Yip, Center for Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Hong Kong, and
Professor David Gunnell, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol.

To contact the group please email Prof Ping Qin, at: ping.qin@medisin.uio.no

Chairs of IASP SIG Suicide and Self-Harm in Middle-aged Adults

(L-R Prof Qin; Prof Yip and Prof Gunnell)