Recession and risk of suicide in Denmark during the 2009 global financial crisis: an ecological register-based study

Agnieszka Konieczna, Sarah Grube Larsen, Christina Petrea Larsen, Erik Christiansen*


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Aim: The aim of this study is to analyse the potential impact from the financial crisis (onset in 2009) on suicide rates in Denmark. The hypothesis is that the global financial crisis raised unemployment which leads to raising the suicide rate in Denmark and that the impact is most prominent in men. Method: This study used an ecological study design, including register data from 2001 until 2016 on unemployment, suicide, gender and calendar time which was analysed using Poisson regression models and interrupted time series analysis. Results: The correlation between unemployment and suicide rates was positive in the period and statistically significant for all, but at a moderate level. A dichotomised version of time (calendar year) showed a significant reduction in the suicide rate for women (incidence rate ratio 0.87, P=0.002). Interrupted time series analysis showed a significant decreasing trend for the overall suicide rate and for men in the pre-recession period, which in both cases stagnated after the onset of recession in 2009. The difference between the genders’ suicide rate changed significantly at the onset of recession, as the rate for men increased and the rate for women decreased. Discussion: The Danish social welfare model might have prevented social disintegration and suicide among unemployed, and suicide prevention programmes might have prevented deaths among unemployed and mentally ill individuals. Conclusions: We found some indications for gender-specific differences from the impact of the financial crises on the suicide rate. We recommend that men should be specifically targeted for appropriate prevention programmes during periods of economic downturn.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)584-592
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2022

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