University of Tasmania

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Estimating Suicide Rates in Developing Nations: A Low-Cost Newspaper Capture-Recapture Approach in Cambodia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 21:03 authored by Harris, KM, Thandraven, J, Samphoas, C, Se, P, Lewchalermwongse, B, Ratanashevorn, R, Perry, ML, Britts, C
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 3.8/100 000 (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 3.5/100 000. 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.


Publication title

Asia-Pacific journal of public health / Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Science Press

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2016 APJPH

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Mental health services