Living in cities that are socio-economically disadvantaged and have fewer families living together may increase an individual’s suicide risk, according to a new study.
The research conducted by sociologists at Rice University in Houston and the University of Colorado at Boulder found that individuals at the greatest risk of suicide are those that live in cities where 25% or less of residents lived in a family setting.
These people, no matter if they were married with children or living alone, were more than twice as likely to commit suicide as similar adults who lived in cities where 81% of the population lived in family surroundings, the researchers reported in the journal Social Sciences Quarterly.
In addition, after statistical adjustments for educational, household income and employment, respondents who lived in more socio-economically disadvantaged cities experienced a higher likelihood of death by suicide. For every standard-deviation-unit increase in socioeconomic disadvantage in the city a person lived in, the risk of suicide among adults living in the city — whether they were employed, unemployed or even retired — increased by 7%.
The results, the researchers said, indicate that one’s social climate influences their suicide risk, rather than individual factors alone.
“Our research suggests that [suicide] is an act that can be heavily influenced by broader socioeconomic and family factors,” Justin Denney, PhD, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice, said in a statement. “Finding that the characteristics of the places we live can influence how long we live and how we die is an important consideration in addressing health disparities in the U.S.”
Individuals who live in disadvantaged cities where there are fewer family households are at greater risk of dying by suicide, according to a new study from sociologists at Rice University and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Specifically, those at greatest risk for suicide lived in cities where 25 percent of residents or fewer lived in family settings. Whether they were married with children or single and living alone, these individuals were more than twice as likely to die by suicide compared with similar adults who lived in cities where 81 percent or more of the city’s population lived in family settings.