Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2022;48(4):293-301    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.4015 | Published online: 20 Feb 2022, Issue date: 01 May 2022

Perceived job insecurity and risk of suicide and suicide attempts: a study of men and women in the Swedish working population

by Blomqvist S, Virtanen M, LaMontagne AD, Magnusson Hanson LL

Objective Whether perceived job insecurity increases the risk of suicidal behaviors is unclear. Improved understanding in this area could inform efforts to reduce suicide risk among those experiencing elevated job insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as post-pandemic. We aimed to investigate if perceived job insecurity predicted increased risk of suicide mortality and suicide attempts.

Method Employees (N=65 571), representative of the Swedish working population who participated in the Swedish Work Environment Survey in 1991–2003, were followed up through 2016 in the National Inpatient and Death Registers. Suicide deaths and suicide attempts were defined according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 10 and ICD-8/9 codes of underlying cause of death and in-/outpatient care. Job insecurity and subsequent risk of suicide and suicide attempt were investigated with marginal structural Cox regression analyses and inverse probability of treatment weighting to control for confounding.

Results Perceived job insecurity was associated with an elevated risk of suicide [hazard ratio (HR) 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–2.20], but not with incident suicide attempts (HR 1.03, CI 0.86–1.24). Estimates remained similar after considering prevalent/previous poor mental health, other work factors, and when restricting the follow up time to ten years.

Conclusion The study suggests that job insecurity is associated with an increased risk of suicide mortality. Concerns about elevated job insecurity and suicide levels in the wake of the current pandemic could thus be considered in strategies to reduce the population health impact job insecurity both during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2006;32(6):443-462  2019;45(1):1-6  2021;47(7):489-508
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