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Employment Status and Suicidal Ideation during Economic Recession

Anne-Sofie Hiswåls, Gebrenegus Ghilagaber, Katarina Wijk, Peter Öberg, Joaquim Soares and Gloria Macassa

Objective: Suicide is a public health problem and an important indicator of severe mental ill-health. Thus, identifying risk factors for suicidal ideation is a public health priority. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between employment status and suicidal ideation in Gävleborg County. Method: The study used data from the 2010 Health in Equal Terms survey, a cross-sectional survey carried out in Gävleborg County in Sweden. A total of 4,245 individuals, aged 16–65 years were included in the analyses. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were carried out to assess the relationship between employment status and suicidal ideation. Results: Individuals outside the labour market had odds of suicidal ideation of 4.21 (CI 3.14-5.64) compared to their employed counterparts. Controlling for other covariates, reduced the risk from 4.21(CI 3.14-5.64) in model I, to 1.73 (CI 1.16- 2.57) in model IV, but remained statistically significant. In addition, other variables were associated with suicidal ideation. Conclusion: There was a statistically significant association between being out of work and suicidal ideation. The association was explained partly by demographic, socio-economic and self-reported psychological variables. Results of the study suggest the need for primary prevention strategies among those out of the labour market, especially during times of economic hardship.