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Suicide of Australians during the Vietnam War
Objectives: National suicide rates fall during times of war. This fits with the notion of the population coming together against a common foe. But, what happens in the case of a war which is not fully supported, which draws the population and families apart? We consider this question by examining the Australian suicide rates during the divisive Vietnam War.
Methods: We graphed and examined the Australian suicide figures for 1921–2010. Results: We found clear evidence of a decrease in the suicide rate for World War II (consistent with other studies), but a marked elevation of suicide during the Vietnam War.
Conclusions: The elevation of the Australian suicide rate during the Vietnam War is consistent with Durkheim’s social integration model – when social integration is lessened, either by individual characteristics or societal characteristics, the risk of suicide rises.
Publication titleAustralasian Psychiatry
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherSage Publications Ltd.
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2017 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists