To describe the impact of deficient cause-of-death records on trends in death by suicide and homicide, through imputation of missing information.
Observational and descriptive study of temporal trends in recorded deaths from external causes in Argentina in the period 1997-2018. For imputation of intent, logistic models were adjusted on the basis of predictive variables from the Statistical Report on Deaths. Vital statistics and population projections were used as secondary sources.
As measured by the original data, mortality from external causes declined, specifically for homicides and accidents. These declines were more pronounced with the corrected data, since imputation of intent had a greater impact early in the period. Death by suicide increased by 8.0%; and after the correction, by 12.9%.
The correction does not substantively alter the trend in mortality from external causes, but it does significantly increase mortality from homicide and suicide.