Socio-economic differences in suicide mortality by sex in Finland, 1971–2001

Netta Mäki, University of Helsinki
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki

Suicide is a common cause of death worldwide and its significance is predicted to increase. Considerable variation between genders and socio-economic groups exists in suicide mortality. We used census records linked with death records to analyse socioeconomic differences and trends in suicide mortality of men and women aged 25+ in 1971–2000. Among men suicide mortality of manual workers was 2.3-fold compared with that of upper non-manual workers whereas among women the difference was about 1.3-fold. Socioeconomic differences were largest among those in their thirties. Because of decline in suicide mortality among upper non-manual workers and stagnant mortality among other socioeconomic groups, the relative mortality differences have increased. In 1991-2000 years-of-life-expectancy-lost due to suicide made up 7.5% of total years-of-life-expectancy-lost among manual men, but only 2.6% among manual women. Reducing gender and socio-economic differences in suicide can significantly improve equity in health and reduce the burden of excess mortality.

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Presented in Poster Session 4