Suicide Rate Soars for Middle-Aged

Scientists baffled by 16% spike for Boomers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2008 5:02 AM CDT
Tourists walk next to a help phone sign on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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(Newser) – A sharp rise in the number of middle-aged white people taking their own lives has driven up the US suicide rate by nearly 5% since 1999, the Los Angeles Times reports. Experts are baffled by the nearly 16% hike in this group, but speculate that prescription drug abuse, a drop in the use of hormone replacement therapy by menopausal women, or post-9/11 stress could be the cause—as could widespread Boomer disappointment.

"The generation as a group was so large, and their expectations were so great, that not everyone in the group could get what he or she wanted as they aged,” a sociology professor told the Chicago Tribune. “This could lead to disappointment that could undermine happiness."