ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Suicide attempts have been shown to be less common in older age groups, with repeated attempts generally being more common in younger age groups and severe attempts in older age groups. Consistently, most studies have shown an increased suicide risk after attempts in older age. However, little is known about the predictive value of age on repeated and severe suicide attempts for accomplished suicide. The aim of the present study was to investigate the reduced incidence for initial, repeated, or severe suicide attempts with age in suicide victims and controls by gender. Methods The records of 100 suicide victims and matched controls with severe depression admitted to the Department of Psychiatry, Lund University Hospital, Sweden between 1956 and 1969, were evaluated and the subjects were monitored up to 2006. The occurrence of suicide attempts (first, repeated, or severe, by age group) was analysed for suicide victims and controls, with gender taken into consideration. RESULTS: There was a reduced risk for an initial suicide attempt by older age in females (suicide victims and controls) and male controls (but not suicide victims). The risk for repeated suicide attempts appeared to be reduced in the older age groups in female controls as compared to female suicide victims. The risk for severe suicide attempts seemed reduced in the older age groups in female suicide victims. This risk was also reduced in male controls and in male controls compared to male suicide victims. Conclusion In the older age groups repeated attempts appeared to be predictive for suicide in women and severe attempts predictive in men.