Having No Work Ups Chances of Suicide

Study finds unemployment can triple risk

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TUESDAY, July 29, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Being unemployed is more than just a threat to your financial well-being. It may put your life in jeopardy.

Unemployment can triple the risk of suicide, says a New Zealand study in the most current issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The researchers examined data from the 1991 New Zealand census. They found that unemployed 25- to 44-year-old men and women, and 45- to 64-year-old men were two to three times more likely to commit suicide as their employed peers.

Overall, the proportion of suicides attributable to adults aged 24 to 64 was 6 percent.

The authors note mental illness could be a factor in up to half the increased risk of suicide they found among the unemployed.

But they add the possibility that mental illness explains the association between unemployment and suicide is weakened by the fact that most people who have to leave work due to mental illness would have been classified as non-active, rather than unemployed.

The authors suggest a society's unemployment rate may be an indicator of lack of social cohesion, which in turn is associated with higher numbers of suicides.

More information

Here's related research on unemployment and mortality.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, July 29, 2003
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