Occupation and suicide: Colorado, 2004–2006


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Abstract

BackgroundOccupation has been identified as a risk factor for suicide. Changes in work environments over time suggest occupations at high risk of suicide may also change. Therefore, periodic examination of suicide by occupation is warranted. The purpose of this article is to describe suicide rates by occupation, sex, and means used in Colorado for the period 2004–2006.MethodsTo provide information useful in designing suicide prevention programs, the methods used in suicide across occupational groups also are examined. Data from the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (COVDRS) were obtained for suicides that occurred between 2004 and 2006. Denominators to calculate rates by age, sex, and race used are from the 2000 US Census of the Population data.ResultsMen had higher suicide rates than women in all occupation categories except computers and mathematics. Among men, those in farming, fishing, and forestry (475.6 per 100,000) had the highest age-adjusted suicide rates. Among women, workers with the highest suicide rates were in construction and extraction (134.3 per 100,000). The examination of lethal means showed that workers in farming, fishing, and forestry had higher rates of suicide by firearms (50.18 per 100,000) compared with other workers. Healthcare practitioners and technicians had the highest rate of suicide by poisoning (14.25 per 100,000). Workers involved in construction and extraction (26.43 per 100,000) had higher rates of suicide by hanging, suffocation, or strangling.ConclusionsSignificant differences in means of suicide were seen by occupation, which could guide future suicide prevention interventions that may decrease work-related suicide risks. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:1290–1295, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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