IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Suicide and unemployment in Italy: Description, analysis and interpretation of recent trends

Listed author(s):
  • Platt, Stephen
  • Micciolo, Rocco
  • Tansella, Michele
Registered author(s):

    This paper assesses the relationship between suicide and unemployment in Italy during the period 1977-1987, taking into account variations by gender and region. The first objective of the study is to provide descriptive longitudinal and cross-sectional aggregate-level analyses and also trends in individual-level and population risks for suicide in relation to unemployment. Our second objective is to use the Italian data to help discriminate between rival interpretations of the unemployment-suicide link, i.e. the operation of health selection or causal (susceptibility) mechanisms. Evidence for an association between suicide and unemployment among women was not convincing. The annual rate of female unemployment was negatively correlated with the female suicide rate and unrelated to the suicide rate among the unemployed, the relative risk or population attribute risk. Individual-level analyses for each year confirmed that unemployed women were more likely to commit suicide than their employed counterparts, although the overall relative risk was low (1.5) and conference intervals for six of the eleven annual risk ratios included unity (1). Among men, the unemployment rate was positively correlated over time with the suicide rate. However, change in the suicide rate across 18 geographic regions of Italy was unrelated to change in the unemployment rate, a finding which did not appear to be invalidated by a regression to the mean effect. Unemployment was also positively related to the suicide rate among the employed and population attribute risk, but unrelated to the rate among the unemployed or the relative risk. Comparison of suicide rates among the employed and unemployed revealed an excess of suicide among the latter in each year, with an overall relative risk of 3.4. On the basis of this contradictory and inconsistent evidence, we are cautious about offering definitive interpretations concerning the nature of the unemployment--suicide link among men. We conclude by suggesting the need for further individual-level studies using retrospective case-control methods.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 34 (1992)
    Issue (Month): 11 (June)
    Pages: 1191-1201

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:34:y:1992:i:11:p:1191-1201
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:34:y:1992:i:11:p:1191-1201. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.