Objectives: We investigated the impact of statewide job loss on adolescent suicide-related behaviors.
Methods: We used 1997 to 2009 data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate the effects of statewide job loss on adolescents' suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide plans. Probit regression models controlled for demographic characteristics, state of residence, and year; samples were divided according to gender and race/ethnicity.
Results: Statewide job losses during the year preceding the survey increased girls' probability of suicidal ideation and suicide plans and non-Hispanic Black adolescents' probability of suicidal ideation, suicide plans, and suicide attempts. 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. Job losses did not affect the suicide-related behaviors of boys, non-Hispanic Whites, or Hispanics. The results were robust to the inclusion of other state economic characteristics.
Conclusions: As are adults, adolescents are affected by economic downturns. Our findings show that statewide job loss increases adolescent girls' and non-Hispanic Blacks' suicide-related behaviors.