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Markedly raised risk of attempted suicide in female immigrants and violent criminality in male immigrants in Denmark
  1. Howard T Ryland
  1. South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, Springfield University Hospital, London, UK;

Statistics from

ABSTRACT FROM: Webb RT, Antonsen S, Mok PL, et al. National Cohort Study of Suicidality and Violent Criminality among Danish Immigrants. PLoS ONE 2015;10:e0131915.

What is already known on this topic?

Immigrant populations in the European Union (EU) have grown considerably in recent years with over 1 in 10 residents born in another country, two-thirds of whom come from beyond the EU.1 There is a need to better understand the impact of increasing diversity within immigrant populations and the nature of psychosocial difficulties caused by adversities, such as racism and marginalisation. In Denmark, the risk of mental illness is elevated across the spectrum of psychiatric disorders in immigrants.2 There is a strong correlation between violence to others and self-harming behaviours.3 Previous studies on violence among immigrants have mainly focused on the USA, most recently on serious violence in Mexican immigrant populations.4

Methods of the study

Webb et al studied a cohort of over two million people born within a 23-year period and residing in Denmark on their 10th birthday. The Danish system of assigning a single personal identification number to each resident allowed the researchers to link records from several national databases, including the National Crime Register, Psychiatric Central Research Register and National Patient Register, to extract information about violent offending, suicide attempts and deaths by suicide. The study aimed to compare absolute risk between five categories: native Danes, intercountry adoptees, first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants with one foreign-born parent and second-generation immigrants with two foreign-born parents. The study also aimed to calculate gender-specific incidence rate ratios and cumulative incidence rates until age 40 years, for adverse events in each group. Covariates that were identified included psychiatric diagnosis, parental income, employment status and educational attainment. The study also …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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