Accuracy of official suicide mortality data in Queensland

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Title Accuracy of official suicide mortality data in Queensland
Author Williams, Ruth Fiona Gordon; Doessel, Darrel Phillip; Sveticic, Jerneja; De Leo, Diego
Journal Name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Editor Peter Joyce
Year Published 2010
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Abstract Objective: The purpose is to answer the following research question: are the time-series data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for Queensland statistically the same as those of the Queensland Suicide Register? Method: This question was answered by fi rst modelling statistically, for males and females, the time series suicide data from these two sources for the period of data availability, 1994 to 2007 (14 observations). Fitted values were then derived from the ' best fi t ' equations, after rigorous diagnostic testing. The outliers in these data sets were addressed with pulse dummy variables. Finally, by applying the Wald test to determine whether or not the fi tted values are the same, we determined whether, for males and females, these two data sets are the same or different. Results: The study showed that the Queensland suicide rate, based on Queensland Suicide Register data, was greater than that based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Further statistical testing showed that the differences between the two data sets are statistically signifi cant for 24 of the 28 pair-wise comparisons. Conclusions: The quality of Australia ' s official suicide data is affected by various practices in data collection. This study provides a unique test of the accuracy of published suicide data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Queensland Suicide Register ' s defi nition of suicide applies a more suicidological, or medical/health, conception of suicide, and applies different practices of coding suicide cases, timing of data collection processes, etc. The study shows that ' difference ' between the two data sets predominates, and is statistically signifi cant; thus the extent of the under-reporting of suicide is not trivial. Given that official suicide data are used for many purposes, including policy evaluation of suicide prevention programmes, it is suggested that the system used in Queensland should be adopted by the rest of Australia too. Key words: data quality , data reporting , evaluation research , suicide .
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Volume 44
Issue Number 9
Page from 815
Page to 822
ISSN 0004-8674
Date Accessioned 2010-09-06
Language en_AU
Research Centre Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention
Faculty Griffith Health Faculty
Subject Statistics
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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