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Publication du membre du CRISE

Lapierre Sylvie
Universit du Qubec Trois-Rivires

Lapierre, S., Desjardins, S., Prville, M., Berbiche, D., Marcoux, L., Dub, M. (2015). Wish to die and physical illness in older adults. Psychology Research, 5(2), 125-137.

The wish to die is the first step into the suicidal process. While depression is a major risk factor for the wish to die in old age, it seems that chronic physical illness could also be an important associated factor. Therefore, it would be interesting to look at the relations between 15 specific illnesses and the wish to die in old age. A representative probabilistic sample of community-dwelling older adults aged over 65 (M = 73.9) took part in a large survey on the prevalence of mental disorders, that also gathered information on chronic illness. Results indicated that 5.2% of the 2,811 respondents believed that they would be better dead, and that nine types of chronic illnesses were found significantly more often in elderly persons with the wish to die compared to those without. A logistic regression, including these nine diseases, revealed that, when gender was controlled for, three types of chronic illnesses were significantly associated with increased odds of wish to die: arthritis/rheumatism (OR = 1.72), respiratory problems (OR = 1.85), and urinary/prostate disorders (OR = 1.76). Although many chronic illnesses were found significantly more often in persons with a wish to die, painful diseases causing functional limitations (arthritis) and illnesses that affect basic physiological needs (breathing, eliminating) were particularly important associated factors. New research should look at the possible mediating effects of helplessness, hopelessness, perceived burdensomeness, and reduced quality of life on the relation between chronic illness and the wish to die.


Mise à jour : 4/19/2018

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