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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 23;13:12. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-13-12. eCollection 2014.

Possible delayed effect of unemployment on suicidal rates: the case of Hungary.

Author information

1
3rd Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 6, Odysseos Str. (1st Parodos Ampelonon Str.), Pylaia, Thessaloniki 55535, Greece.
2
Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest 1089, Hungary ; Laboratory for Suicide Research and Prevention, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Budapest H-1135, Hungary ; Department of Pharmacodynamics, Semmelweis University, Budapest H-1089, Hungary ; MTA-SE Neuropsychopharmacology and Neurochemistry Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest 1089, Hungary.
3
Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest 1089, Hungary ; Laboratory for Suicide Research and Prevention, National Institute of Psychiatry and Addictions, Budapest H-1135, Hungary.
4
Mental Health Hospitals Trust of Attica "Dafni & Dromokaiteio", Athens 12462, Greece ; WHO National Counterpart for Mental Health, Athens 12462, Greece.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

During the last few years, many countries in Europe suffered from a severe economic crisis which resulted in high unemployment rates. In this frame, the possible relationship between unemployment rate and suicidal rates at the level of the general population has been debated recently.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

The official data concerning completed suicides and unemployment rates from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office for the years 2000-2011 were used. The percentage of changes from the previous year in the unemployment rate and the suicidal rates concerning both the general and the unemployed populations was calculated. Pearson correlation coefficient between the change in suicidal rates and change in unemployment rates was calculated both for the same year as well as after 1-6 years.

RESULTS:

The correlations between the unemployment rate and suicide rates were strongly negative both for the general and for the unemployed populations (-0.65 and -0.55, respectively). The correlation of unemployment change with suicidality change after 1-6 years gave a peak strong positive correlation at 5 years for the general population (0.78). At 4 years after the index year, there is a peak correlation with a moderate value for the unemployed population (0.47) and a similar moderate value for the general population (0.46).

DISCUSSION:

The current findings from Hungary suggest that unemployment might be associated with suicidality in the general population only after 3-5 years. It is possible that the distressing environment of the economic crisis increases suicidality in the general population rather than specifically in unemployed people.

KEYWORDS:

Austerity; Delayed effect; Suicide

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