Associations of suicide rates with socioeconomic status and social isolation: Findings from longitudinal register and census data

  • Suicide represents a major challenge to public mental health. In order to provide empirical evidence for prevention strategies, we hypothesized current levels of low socioeconomic status (SES) and high social isolation (SI) to be linked to increased suicide rates in N = 390 administrative districts since SES and SI are associated with mental illness. Effects of SES on suicide rates were further expected to be especially pronounced in districts with individuals showing high SI levels as SI reduces the reception of social support and moderates the impact of low SES on poor mental health. We linked German Microcensus data to register data on all 149,033 German suicides between 1997 and 2010 and estimated Prentice and Sheppard’s model for aggregate data to test the hypotheses, accounting for spatial effect correlations. The findings reveal increases in district suicide rates by 1.20% (p < 0.035) for 1% increases of district unemployment, suicide rate decreases of −0.39% (p < 0.028) for 1% increases in incomes, increases of 1.65% (p < 0.033) in suicides for 1% increases in one-person-households and increases in suicide rates of 0.54% (p < 0.036) for 1% decreases in single persons’ incomes as well as suicide rate increases of 3.52% (p < 0.000) for 1% increases in CASMIN scores of individuals who moved throughout the year preceding suicide. The results represent appropriate starting points for the development of suicide prevention strategies. For the definition of more precise measures, future work should focus on the causal mechanisms resulting in suicidality incorporating individual level data.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Anatol-Fiete NäherORCiDGND, Christine Rummel-KlugeORCiDGND, Ulrich HegerlORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychiatry
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Michael Hengartner
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of first Publication:2020/01/14
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/01/20
Tag:prevention; public mental health; social determinants; social isolation; socioeconomic status; suicide
Issue:Art. 898
Page Number:9
First Page:1
Last Page:9
Copyright © 2020 Näher, Rummel-Kluge and Hegerl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0