Differing Procedures for Recording Mortality Statistics in Scandinavia

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Ingvild M. Tøllefsen
  • Erlend Hem
  • Øivind Ekeberg
  • Per-Henrik Zahl
  • Karin Helweg-Larsen
Background: There may be various reasons for differences in suicide rates between countries and over time within a country. One reason can be different registration practices.
Aims: The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the present procedures for mortality and suicide registration in the three Scandinavian countries and to illustrate potential sources of error in the registration of suicide.
Method: Information about registration practices and classification procedures was obtained from the cause of death registers in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In addition, we received information from experts in the field in each country.
Results: Sweden uses event of undetermined intent more frequently than Denmark does, and Denmark more frequently than Norway. There seems to be somewhat more uncertainty among deaths classified as ill-defined and unknown cause of mortality in Norway, compared with the other two countries. Sweden performs more forensic autopsies than Norway, and Norway more than Denmark. In Denmark, in cases of a suspected unnatural manner of death, a thorough external examination of the deceased is performed.
Conclusion: Differences in the classification of causes of death and in postmortem examinations exist in Scandinavian countries. These differences might influence the suicide statistics in Scandinavia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCrisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • autopsy, cause of death register, mortality statistics, suicide, undetermined intent

ID: 188197737