Long-term unemployment and suicide: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Milner, Allison, Page, Andrew and LaMontagne, Anthony D. (2013) Long-term unemployment and suicide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 8 1: e51333.1-e51333.6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051333

Author Milner, Allison
Page, Andrew
LaMontagne, Anthony D.
Title Long-term unemployment and suicide: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0051333
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 1
Start page e51333.1
End page e51333.6
Total pages 6
Place of publication San Francisco, CA., United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: There have been a number of reviews on the association+ between unemployment and suicide, but none have investigated how this relationship is influenced by duration of unemployment.

Method: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted of those studies that assessed duration of unemployment as a risk factor for suicide. Studies considered as eligible for inclusion were population-based cohort or case-control designs; population-based ecological designs, or hospital based clinical cohort or case-control designs published in the year 1980 or later.

Results: The review identified 16 eligible studies, out of a possible 10,358 articles resulting from a search of four databases:  PubMed, Web of Knowledge, Scopus and Proquest. While all 16 studies measured unemployment duration in different ways, a common finding was that longer duration of unemployment was related to greater risk of suicide and suicide attempt. A random effects meta-analys is on a subsample of six cohort studies indicated that the pooled relative risk of suicide in relation to average follow-up time after unemployment was 1.70 (95% CI 1.22 to 2.18). However, results also suggested a possible habituation effect to unemployment over time, with the greatest risk of suicide occurring within five years of unemployment compared to the employed population (RR = 2.50, 95% CI 1.83 to 3.17). Relative risk appeared to decline in studies of those unemployed between 12 and 16 years compared to those currently employed (RR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.33).

Conclusion: Findings suggest that long-term unemployment is associated with greater incidence of suicide. Results of the meta-analysis suggest that risk is greatest in the first five years, and persists at a lower but elevated level up to 16 years after unemployment. These findings are limited by the paucity of data on this topic.
Keyword Psychiatric illness
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 26 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 33 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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