Suicide has become one of the leading causes of death of Swiss males aged between 15 and 44 years, whose age-standardized rates are about three times higher than those for females. We compared age-stratified suicide rates of Swiss men and women aged 15–79 years and analysed gender-specific differences from 1950 to 2007. Furthermore, we explored whether changes in measures of family integration can explain changes in suicide trends. The use of multivariate age–period–cohort models avoids age aggregation and allows the exploration of heterogeneous time trends across age, period and birth cohort. In addition, explanatory variables can be included. We found strong gender-specific differences in suicide mortality.
Although the same risk factors may act on age and overdispersion, there was no significant correlation between gender-specific cohort effects. Family integration had an effect on Swiss suicide risk but only partially explained the underlying trends over time.