Fatal intentional drowning in Australia: A systematic literature review of rates and risk factors

Published on 2020-05-22T17:37:06Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Introduction</p><p>Unintentional drowning deaths are only part of the drowning profile, with little attention being paid to intentional drowning in Australia. Strategies for the prevention of intentional drowning deaths are likely to be different from unintentional. Quality documentation, analysis and dissemination of intentional deaths data is crucial for developing appropriate strategies for prevention.</p><p>Objective</p><p>To conduct a systematic literature review to investigate the mortality rates and risk factors of intentional drowning deaths in Australia.</p><p>Methods</p><p>A systematic search guided by PRISMA was performed using Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO (ProQuest), Scopus, Google Scholar, and BioMed Central databases to locate relevant original research articles published between 2007 and 2018.</p><p>Results</p><p>Ten papers reporting the mortality rates and risk factors of intentional drowning deaths in Australia published between 2007 and 2018, with study periods of the included articles spanning from 1907 to 2012, were reviewed. Most studies investigated suicidal drowning deaths in Australia, none reported homicidal drowning deaths. The downward trend of fatal suicide drowning was identified in Australia. The annual rate of intentional drowning between 1994 and 2012 can be inferred from eight studies, ranging from 0.06 to 0.21 for nation-wide mortality rates. The highest annual state-wide mortality rate was identified in the state of Queensland, ranging from 0.02 to 0.11 per 100,000 individuals. Of four studies examining the risk factors of fatal intentional drowning in Australia, being of older age groups, being female, and the presence of substance use were identified as important factors for suicidal drowning deaths. The national-scale proportion of suicide drowning in Australia, ranging from 2% to 3% of all intentional self-harm deaths, was also identified.</p><p>Conclusion</p><p>Limited publications reporting the mortality rates and risk factors of intentional drowning deaths in Australia were identified. Being of older age groups and being female were recognised as factors for suicide drowning deaths, and psychoactive substances were widely identified amongst cases. Future research on improving death reporting systems and the legal framework for medico-legal death investigation, along with the investigation of the risk factors of intentional drowning, are required to inform the planning, implementation, and evaluation of prevention interventions for intentional drowning deaths in Australia.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Cenderadewi, Muthia; Franklin, Richard C.; Peden, Amy E.; Devine, Sue (2020): Fatal intentional drowning in Australia: A systematic literature review of rates and risk factors. PLOS ONE. Collection. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231861