Job Losses Among Youth Linked to Increased Suicidal Behaviors

Rob Wipond
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A state’s rate of job losses is linked to its rates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide plans in young people of African American descent and in young women, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health. “Job losses among 1% of a state’s working-age population increased the probability of girls and Blacks reporting suicide-related behaviors by 2 to 3 percentage points,” wrote the researchers.

A press release summarized that, “The study investigated self-reported data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 1997 through 2009, reviewing a sample of 403,457 adolescents from 45 states. The survey responses were reviewed alongside the data from the Mass Layoff Statistics program, which captures the number of people who lost their jobs due to mass closings or layoffs from all states and the District of Columbia.”

The reseachers concluded in their abstract, “Our findings show that statewide job loss increases adolescent girls’ and non-Hispanic Blacks’ suicide-related behaviors.” The same correlations were not seen among boys, non-Hispanic Whites, or Hispanics.

Effects of Statewide Job Losses on Adolescent Suicide-Related Behaviors (Gassman-Pines, Anna et al. American Journal of Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 14, 2014. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302081)

Job Losses and Teen Suicide-Related Behaviors, Online Weight Loss Sites, LGB Students and At-School Adult Connections (American Public Health Association Press Release on Newswise, August 14, 2014)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

3 COMMENTS

    • You’re right – sad and unsurprising. But don’t worry: the headlines will soon be “job loss causes mental illness” and then: “mental illness is correlated with joblessness” leading to “antidepressants will save your kids from unemployment” Oh, wait, that’s already been the narrative.