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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Mar 31;14(4). pii: E365. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14040365.

Socio-Economic Position and Suicidal Ideation in Men.

Author information

1
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. j.pirkis@unimelb.edu.au.
2
Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. dianne.currier@unimelb.edu.au.
3
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. peter.butterworth@unimelb.edu.au.
4
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. alison.milner@unimelb.edu.au.
5
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. a.kavanagh@unimelb.edu.au.
6
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. holly.tibble@unimelb.edu.au.
7
Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. jo.robinson@orygen.org.au.
8
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia. m.spittal@unimelb.edu.au.

Abstract

People in low socio-economic positions are over-represented in suicide statistics and are at heightened risk for non-fatal suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Few studies have tried to tease out the relationship between individual-level and area-level socio-economic position, however. We used data from Ten to Men (the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health) to investigate the relationship between individual-level and area-level socio-economic position and suicidal thinking in 12,090 men. We used a measure of unemployment/employment and occupational skill level as our individual-level indicator of socio-economic position. We used the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (a composite multidimensional construct created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that combines information from a range of area-level variables, including the prevalence of unemployment and employment in low skilled occupations) as our area-level indicator. We assessed suicidal thinking using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). We found that even after controlling for common predictors of suicidal thinking; low individual-level and area-level socio-economic position heightened risk. Individual-level socio-economic position appeared to exert the greater influence of the two; however. There is an onus on policy makers and planners from within and outside the mental health sector to take individual- and area-level socio-economic position into account when they are developing strategic initiatives.

KEYWORDS:

disadvantage; socio-economic position; suicidal ideation

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