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More Suicides and Homicides With Rising Unemployment

Last Updated: July 08, 2009.

Rises in the level of unemployment are associated with rises in the number of suicides and homicides, but a reduction in the number of road traffic accident-related deaths, according to a study published online July 8 in The Lancet.

WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Rises in the level of unemployment are associated with rises in the number of suicides and homicides, but a reduction in the number of road traffic accident-related deaths, according to a study published online July 8 in The Lancet.

David Stuckler, Ph.D., of Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed 1970 to 2007 data from 26 European Union countries, looking at employment trends, mortality and the differences in health care infrastructure between the countries concerned.

There was a 0.79 percent increase in both suicides amongst those aged below 65 years and in homicides for every 1 percent increase in unemployment, while the number of deaths due to road traffic accidents went down by 1.39 percent, the investigators discovered. There was substantial national variation in the relation between economic crises and mortality, partly due to different social protection policies, the researchers found.

"Every US$10 per person increased investment in active labor-market programs reduced the effect of unemployment on suicides by 0.38 percent," the authors write. "Active labor-market programs that keep and reintegrate workers in jobs could mitigate some adverse health effects of economic downturns."

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