Socioeconomic Factors and Suicide: An Analysis of 18 Industrialized Countries for the Years 1983 Through 2007

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the association between socioeconomic factors and suicide rates.

Methods:

Analysis of time series of suicide rates, gross domestic product, unemployment rates, labor force participation, and divorce rates of 18 countries are analyzed by the application of panel-vector error correction models. Main outcome measures are the association between the socioeconomic factors and suicide rates.

Results:

Decreasing economic growth and increasing divorce rates are significantly associated with increasing suicide rates in men. For women, increasing economic growth, increasing unemployment, and increasing divorce rates are significantly associated with increasing suicides. Increasing female labor force participation is associated with decreasing suicides.

Conclusion:

Socioeconomic factors are associated with suicide rates. However, this relationship differs by sex. The current results provide a strong argument that suicide prevention strategies must include the monitoring of socioeconomic development.

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