Living in a disadvantaged city ups suicide risk

New York, June 21 (IANS) Adults living in cities with more socio-economic disadvantages have higher chances of suicidal death than adults living in less-disadvantaged cities, says new research.

The researchers also found that living in cities with a higher percentage of family households demonstrated a lower risk of suicide than living in cities where more residents lived alone or with unrelated friends.

“Many people see suicide as an inherently individual act, however, our research suggests that it is an act that can be heavily influenced by broader socio-economic and family factors,” said Justin Denney, assistant professor of sociology at Rice University in the US.

The researchers organised the participant information by taking all the cities in the U.S. and dividing them into quartiles based on US Census information on the proportion of residents living in families.

After statistically adjusting for the family-living situation of adult survey respondents, including their marital status, the researchers found that the group of individuals at greatest risk for suicide lived in cities where 25 percent of residents or fewer lived in family settings.

In fact, these adults — whether they were married with children or single and living alone — were more than two times more 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.

The second part of the study showed that survey respondents who lived in more socio-economically disadvantaged cities experienced a higher likelihood of death by suicide.

For example, for every standard-deviation-unit increase in socio-economic disadvantage for the city of residence, the risk of suicide among adults living in the city — whether they were employed, unemployed or even retired — increased by seven percent.

The research was conducted with health data of more than a million adults living in the US between 1986 and 2003.

The findings appeared in the journal Social Science Quarterly.

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