Suicide rises and falls with economy: US study

April 14, 2011

More Americans have killed themselves in times of financial hardship than in times of prosperity, said a US study of suicide rates and the business cycle from 1928 to 2007 released Thursday.

Suicide rates among people of typical working age, 25 to 64, were highest during the in 1932, and lowest around the time of the dot-com Internet boom in 2000, said the .

"Knowing suicides increased during economic recessions and fell during expansions underscores the need for additional measures when the economy weakens," said James Mercy, acting director of CDC's Injury Center's Division of Violence Prevention.

"It is an important finding for policy makers and those working to prevent suicide."

The CDC findings, published in the , show a series of higher suicide rates in times of trouble, such as during the oil crisis of 1973-75, and the double-dip recession of 1980-82.

were lowest when the economy was growing, such as the post World War II period (1939-1945) and during an extended period of financial expansion from 1991 to 2001.

"Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures as well as their relationships with family and friends," said Feijun Luo, lead study author and an economist in CDC's Division of Violence Prevention.

"We know suicide is not caused by any one factor -- it is often a combination of many that lead to suicide. But there are many opportunities for prevention."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect

January 17, 2018
Children who experience abuse and neglect early in life are more likely to have problems in social relationships and underachieve academically as adults.

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

Study: No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

January 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

Can psychedelic drugs 'reconnect' depressed patients with their emotions?

January 15, 2018
Imperial research suggests psilocybin can help relieve the symptoms of depression, without the 'dulling' of emotions linked with antidepressants.

Study listens in on speech development in early childhood

January 15, 2018
If you've ever listened in on two toddlers at play, you might have wondered how much of their babbling might get lost in translation. A new study from the University of Toronto provides surprising insights into how much children ...

Study suggests people dislike you more for humblebragging than for regular boasting

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers from Harvard University and UNC-Chapel Hill has conducted a study regarding humblebragging—in which a person boasts about an achievement but tries to make it sound less boastful by minimizing it—and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.