Economic growth and suicide rate changes: a case in China from 1982 to 2005

Eur Psychiatry. 2010 Apr;25(3):159-63. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2009.07.013. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


Objectives: It is to estimate the trend of suicide rate changes during the past three decades in China and try to identify its social and economic correlates.

Methods: Official data of suicide rates and economic indexes during 1982-2005 from Shandong Province of China were analyzed. The suicide data were categorized for the rural / urban location and gender, and the economic indexes include GDP, GDP per capita, rural income, and urban income, all adjusted for inflation.

Results: We found a significant increase of economic development and decrease of suicide rates over the past decades under study. The suicide rate decrease is correlated with the tremendous growth of economy.

Conclusion: The unusual decrease of Chinese suicide rates in the past decades is accounted for within the Chinese cultural contexts and maybe by the Strain Theory of Suicide.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Economic Development / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Income / trends
  • Inflation, Economic / trends
  • Male
  • Rural Population / trends
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / trends*
  • Urban Population / trends