Social deregulation and mortality: an interrupted time series analysis of homicide, suicide, and alcohol-related mortality in Russia before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
William A. Pridemore, Indiana University
Mitchell Chamlin, University of Cincinnati
John Cochran, University of South Florida
The shifts toward democracy, rule of law, and a free market economy that have occurred in transitional Russia and other former Soviet republics since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 provides social scientists with a unique opportunity to examine the potentially disintegrative effects of rapid social change and thus to evaluate one of Durkheim’s core tenets. We take advantage of this opportunity by performing interrupted time series analyses of annual homicide, alcohol-related, and suicide death rate series for the Russian Federation (1956-2002). The ARIMA models indicate that, controlling for the long-term processes that generate these three time series, the break-up of the Soviet Union led to an appreciable increase in each of the cause of death rates. We interpret these findings as being consistent with the Durkheimian hypothesis that rapid social change disrupts social order, thereby increasing the level of crime and deviance.