Background: The objective of this study was to investigate variations in the risk of suicide by industrial and occupational groups.
Methods: Cox proportional hazards regression models were fitted to the data from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study (1979-1989). In estimating the effects of industry and occupation, controls were made for the potentially confounding effects of age, sex, marital status, education, income, and region of residence.
Results: It was found that persons employed in mining experienced the highest risk of suicide (RR=4.29, CI=1.59, 12.13) compared to workers in finance, insurance, and real estate. Elevated risks were also observed among business and repair services (RR=4.20, CI=1.72, 10.25), professional and related services (RR=2.92, CI=1.25,6.82), and wholesale and retail trade (RR=2.71, CI=1.17,6.25). When comparisons were made by occupational status, it was found that laborers experienced the highest risk of suicide (RR=2.12, CI=1.09,4. 12) when compared to farmers, farm managers, and farm workers.
Conclusions: There are differentials in the risk of suicide among industrial groups, and the industry with the highest risk is mining. The disparities in suicide remained even after the effects of socioeconomic and other variables were controlled. Further research needs to determine if the high suicide risk observed in some industrial groups may be linked to possible depressive symptomatology in the workplace.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.