Genocide Exposure and Subsequent Suicide Risk: A Population-Based Study

PloS One
Stephen Z LevineInna Pugachova


The association between periods of genocide-related exposures and suicide risk remains unknown. Our study tests that association using a national population-based study design. The source population comprised of all persons born during1922-1945 in Nazi-occupied or dominated European nations, that immigrated to Israel by 1965, were identified in the Population Register (N = 220,665), and followed up for suicide to 2014, totaling 16,953,602 person-years. The population was disaggregated to compare a trauma gradient among groups that immigrated before (indirect, n = 20,612, 9%); during (partial direct, n = 17,037, 8%); or after (full direct, n = 183,016, 83%) exposure to the Nazi era. Also, the direct exposure groups were examined regarding pre- or post-natal exposure periods. Cox regression models were used to compute Hazard Ratios (HR) of suicide risk to compare the exposure groups, adjusting for confounding by gender, residential SES and history of psychiatric hospitalization. In the total population, only the partial direct exposure subgroup was at greater risk compared to the indirect exposure group (HR = 1.73, 95% CI, 1.10, 2.73; P < .05). That effect replicated in six sensitivity analyses. In addition, sensitivity analyses ...Continue Reading


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