Joblessness Link To Suicide

November 06, 1998

(Suicide, deprivation and unemployment: record linkage study)

Suicides make a substantial contribution to the numbers of premature deaths and, in order to try to prevent people taking such action, there is a need to understand who is at risk. In this week's BMJ Glyn Lewis from the University of Wales College of Medicine and Andy Sloggett from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine find that the link between suicide and unemployment is more powerful that other socio-economic measures.

The authors studied data on suicides occurring between 1983 and 1992 in the Office for National Statistics longitudinal study, and found that unemployment was associated with a doubling of the suicide rate. The authors found that other measures of socioeconomic status, such as social class and housing tenure, were not associated. The authors however warn that their study was not adjusted for some potential confounding factors, however, they conclude that their study provides strong support for the possibility that a reduction in unemployment levels would also reduce rates of suicide.


Professor Glyn Lewis, Professor Community and Epidemiological Psychiatry, Division of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff


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