A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has found that the rate of suicide for adults between 40 and 64 years of age has risen by close to 40% since 1999. Since 2007 the increase has been especially striking. Analysis factoring in potential motivation for the act suggests a linkage to the 2007-2009 economic crisis and its impact on the financial wherewithal of millions around the world.
Data for the study was obtained from the National Violent Death Reporting System that collects information from coroner and toxicology reports, law enforcement records, and death certificates. The study’s authors found that “external economic factors” were detected in 37.5% of suicides in 2010, up from 32.9% in 2005.
Circumstances leading to suicide were separated into three categories: personal, interpersonal, and external. “The sharpest increase in external circumstances appears to be temporally related to the worst years of the Great Recession,” the researchers noted, “consistent with other work showing a link between deteriorating economic conditions and suicide.”
External circumstances also played an increased role for seniors aged 65 and older.
The authors suggest that those in frequent contact with the financially distressed, such as human resources departments and employment agencies, should increase their capacity to recognize those at risk and make appropriate referrals.
Angela Beck, Elsevier Health Sciences, “Suicide Rates Rising for Older US Adults” (Press Release), EurekaAlert! 27 February 27, 2015, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/ehs-srr022315.php.
Jenna Iacurci, “Suicide Rates Among US Adults Rises 40 Percent,” Nature World News, February 27, 2015, http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/13039/20150227/suicide-rates-among-us-adults-rises-40-percent.htm.
Student Researcher: Jacqueline Collette (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)