Impact of employment status and work-related factors on risk of completed suicide. A case-control psychological autopsy study

Psychiatry Res. 2011 Dec 30;190(2-3):265-70. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.07.037. Epub 2011 Sep 3.


The objective of this study was to determine the impact of work-related factors on risk for completed suicide. Psychiatric disorders and socio-demographic factors including work-related factors were assessed by a semi-structured interview using the psychological autopsy method in 163 completed suicide cases and by personal interview in 396 living population-based control persons. Unemployment (in particular, for more than six months), (early) retirement, or homemaker status were associated with highly significantly increased suicide risk, independently of categorized psychiatric diagnosis. In addition, adverse psychosocial working conditions, such as monotonous work, increased responsibility and pronounced mental strain due to contact with work clients, significantly increased suicide risk as well, again independently of categorized psychiatric diagnosis. These findings demonstrate that negative consequences of unemployment, homemaker status with no outside occupation, or (early) retirement, as well as adverse psychosocial working conditions, present relevant risk factors contributing to suicidal behavior, independently of diagnosed psychiatric disorders. Employment and a positive modification of working conditions, may possibly be preventive to important adverse mental health outcomes, including suicidality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Educational Status*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Unemployment / psychology
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data