May 2017

No. 10759: Female Suicide and the Concept of the Midlife Crisis

Andrew J. Oswald, Ahmed Tohamy

The idea that humans – especially females – are prone to some form of 'midlife crisis' has typically been viewed with extreme skepticism by social scientists. We point out the potential equivalence between an age U-shape in a new well-being literature and a matching hill-shape in especially female suicide risk (evident in 28 countries and visible in the United States even 30 years ago). This concordance between two currently separate kinds of evidence, including a result on non-human primates, is apparently not known to many researchers or public commentators. It may be necessary to reconsider traditional thinking on the midlife crisis.