Attitudes concerning the acceptability of suicide have been emphasized as being important for understanding why levels of suicide mortality vary in different societies across the world. While Russian suicide mortality levels are among the highest in the world, not much is known about attitudes to suicide in Russia. This study aims to obtain a greater understanding about the levels and correlates of suicide acceptance in Russia.
Data from a survey of 1,190 Muscovites were analysed using logistic regression techniques. Suicide acceptance was examined among respondents in relation to social, economic and demographic factors as well as in relation to attitudes towards other moral questions.
The majority of interviewees (80%) expressed condemnatory attitudes towards suicide, although men were slightly less condemning. The young, the higher educated, and the non-religious were more accepting of suicide (OR > 2). However, the two first-mentioned effects disappeared when controlling for tolerance, while a positive effect of lower education on suicide acceptance appeared. When controlling for other independent variables, no significant effects were found on suicide attitudes by gender, one's current family situation, or by health-related or economic problems.
The most important determinants of the respondents' attitudes towards suicide were their tolerance regarding other moral questions and their religiosity. More tolerant views, in general, also seemed to explain the more accepting views towards suicide among the young and the higher educated. Differences in suicide attitudes between the sexes seemed to be dependent on differences in other factors rather than on gender per se. Suicide attitudes also seemed to be more affected by one's earlier experiences in terms of upbringing and socialization than by events and processes later in life.
Russian suicide mortality rates changed rapidly over the second half of the twentieth century. This study attempts to differentiate between underlying period and cohort effects in relation to the changes in suicide mortality in Russia between 1956 and 2005.
Sex- and age-specific suicide mortality data were analyzed using an age-period-cohort (APC) approach. Descriptive analyses and APC modeling with log-linear Poisson regression were performed.
Strong period effects were observed for the years during and after Gorbachev's political reforms (including the anti-alcohol campaign) and for those following the break-up of the Soviet Union. After mutual adjustment, the cohort- and period-specific relative risk estimates for suicide revealed differing underlying processes. While the estimated period effects had an overall positive trend, cohort-specific developments indicated a positive trend for the male cohorts born between 1891 and 1931 and for the female cohorts born between 1891 and 1911, but a negative trend for subsequent cohorts.
Our results indicate that the specific life experiences of cohorts may be important for variations in suicide mortality across time, in addition to more immediate effects of changes in the social environment.
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The harmful effects of alcohol consumption are not necessarily limited to the amounts consumed. Drinking in binges is a specific feature of Russian alcohol consumption that may be of importance even for explaining the current mortality crisis. Based on interviews conducted with a stratified random sample of 1190 Muscovites in 2004, this paper examines binge drinking in relation to the respondents' economic situation and social relations. Consistent with prior research, this study provides further evidence for a negative relationship between educational level and binge drinking. Our results also indicate a strong but complex link between economic strain and binge drinking. The odds ratios for binge drinking of men experiencing manifold economic problems were almost twice as high compared to those for men with few economic problems. However, the opposite seemed to be true for women. Being married or cohabiting seemed to have a strong protective effect on binge drinking among women compared to being single, while it seemed to have no effect at all among men. Women having regular contact with friends also had more than twice the odds for binge drinking compared to those with little contact with friends, while again no effect was found among men. Gender roles and the behavioural differences embedded in these, may explain the difference. The different effects of economic hardship on binge drinking may also constitute an important factor when explaining the large mortality difference between men and women in Russia.
Russia has one of the highest suicide mortality rates in the world. This study investigates the development of Russian suicide mortality over a longer time period in order to provide a context within which the contemporary high level might be better understood. Annual sex- and age-specific suicide-mortality data for Russia for the period 1870-2007 were studied, where available. Russian suicide mortality increased 11-fold over the period. Trends in male and female suicide developed similarly, although male suicide rates were consistently much higher. From the 1990s suicide has increased in a relative sense among the young (15-34), while the high suicide mortality among middle-aged males has reduced. Changes in Russian suicide mortality over the study period may be attributable to modernization processes.
Depression is a major health problem worldwide, especially among women. The condition has been related to a number of factors, such as alcohol consumption, economic situation and, more recently, to social capital. However, there have been relatively few studies about the social capital-depression relationship in Eastern Europe. This paper aims to fill this gap by examining the association between different forms of social capital and self-rated depression in Moscow. Differences between men and women will also be examined, with a special focus on women.
Data was obtained from the Moscow Health Survey, which was conducted in 2004 with 1190 Muscovites aged 18 years or above. For depression, a single-item self-reported measure was used. Social capital was operationalised through five questions about different forms of social relations. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken to estimate the association between social capital and self-rated depression, separately for men and women.
More women (48 %) than men (36 %) reported that they had felt depressed during the last year. An association was found between social capital and reported depression only among women. Women who were divorced or widowed or who had little contact with relatives had higher odds of reporting depression than those with more family contact. Women who regularly engaged with people from different age groups outside of their families were also more likely to report depression than those with less regular contact.
Social capital can be a mixed blessing for women. Different forms of social relations can lead to different health outcomes, both positive and negative. Although the family is important for women's mental health in Moscow, extra-familial relations across age groups can be mentally distressing. This suggests that even though social capital can be a valuable resource for mental health, some of its forms can be mentally deleterious to maintain, especially for women. More research is needed on both sides to social capital. A special focus should be placed on bridging social relations among women in order to better understand the complex association between social capital and depression in Russia and elsewhere.
The state of public health in Russia is undoubtedly poor compared with other European countries. The health crisis that has characterised the transition period has been attributed to a number of factors, with an increasing interest being focused on the impact of social capital - or the lack of it. However, there have been relatively few studies of the relation between social capital and health in Russia, and especially in Moscow. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between social capital and self-rated health in Greater Moscow. The study draws on data from the Moscow Health Survey 2004, where 1190 Muscovites were interviewed. Our results indicate that among women, there is no relationship between any form of social capital and self-rated health. However, an association was detected between social capital outside the family and men's self-rated health. Men who rarely or never visit friends and acquaintances are significantly more likely to report less than good health than those who visit more often. Likewise, men who are not members of any voluntary associations have significantly higher odds of reporting poorer health than those who are, while social capital in the family does not seem to be of importance at all. We suggest that these findings might be due to the different gender roles in Russia, and the different socializing patterns and values embedded in them. In addition, different forms of social capital provide access to different forms of resources, influence, and support. They also imply different obligations. These differences are highly relevant for health outcomes, both in Moscow and elsewhere.
The aim of this study was to investigate the spatial distribution of Eastern European suicide mortality both before and at the end of the Communist period, as well as the changes that occurred during this period. Regional data on suicide mortality were collected from Czarist "European Russia" in 1910 and from the corresponding area in 1989. The distribution of suicide mortality was mapped at both points in time. Regional continuity over time was further studied with the help of geographical units specially constructed for this purpose. In 1910, suicide mortality was found to be high in the northern Baltic provinces, in the urban parts of north and central Russia, the more urbanized parts of northern and western Poland, in east Ukraine, and in the northern Caucasus, while suicide rates were generally low in south Russia, Dagestan, and in southern Poland. In 1989, suicide mortality was highest in the Urals, the east Russian "ethnic" areas, and in southeast Russia. The rates were low in Poland, Moldavia, and in most of the northern Caucasus. The across-time analysis using specially constructed comparison units showed that the spatial distributions of suicide mortality in 1910 and 1989 were not correlated with each other. Additional analyses pointed to a short-term consistency of regional patterns both in the 1900s-1920s and the 1980s-1990s. The lack of regional continuity in suicide mortality in the area may imply an absence of strong and continuous regional cultures, or a strong influence of other factors, such as societal modernization, on suicide mortality. Suicide as an act changed its social nature during the Communist period, becoming more normal, and more equally distributed among social classes and geographical locations.
Previous publications have reported two conflicting patterns describing the relationship between income and suicide in Sweden; positive and negative. Methodologically the studies have differed, and the analysis has been limited to a few areas. To better understand the relationship, a nationwide, cross-sectional, ecological study of the 290 municipalities in Sweden was planned. OLS regression analyses showed the overall and female suicide rates were negatively related to income, while the effect on male suicide rates was not statistically significant. The results confirm earlier findings of a negative relationship between income and suicide.