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Am J Prev Med. 2017 Apr;52(4):469-475. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.09.021. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Economic Recession, Alcohol, and Suicide Rates: Comparative Effects of Poverty, Foreclosure, and Job Loss.

Author information

1
Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, California. Electronic address: wkerr@arg.org.
2
Department of Social Welfare, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Los Angeles, California.
3
Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon.
4
Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Oakland, California.
5
Social and Epidemiological Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
6
Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Suicide rates and the proportion of alcohol-involved suicides rose during the 2008-2009 recession. Associations between county-level poverty, foreclosures, and unemployment and suicide rates and proportion of alcohol-involved suicides were investigated.

METHODS:

In 2015, National Violent Death Reporting System data from 16 states in 2005-2011 were utilized to calculate suicide rates and a measure of alcohol involvement in suicides at the county level. Panel models with year and state fixed effects included county-level measures of unemployment, foreclosure, and poverty rates.

RESULTS:

Poverty rates were strongly associated with suicide rates for both genders and all age groups, were positively associated with alcohol involvement in suicides for men aged 45-64 years, and negatively associated for men aged 20-44 years. Foreclosure rates were negatively associated with suicide rates for women and those aged ≥65 years but positively related for those aged 45-64 years. Unemployment rate effects on suicide rates were mediated by poverty rates in all groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Population risk of suicide was most clearly associated with county-level poverty rates, indicating that programs addressing area poverty should be targeted for reducing suicide risk. Poverty rates were also associated with increased alcohol involvement for men aged 45-64 years, indicating a role for alcohol in suicide for this working-aged group. However, negative associations between economic indicators and alcohol involvement were found for four groups, suggesting that non-economic factors or more general economic effects not captured by these indicators may have played a larger role in alcohol-related suicide increases.

PMID:
27856114
PMCID:
PMC5362282
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2016.09.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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