Tough Economy, Alcohol Fuel Suicide Risk in Men: Study

June 03, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Heavy alcohol use may increase suicide risk among men during economic downturns, according to a new study. Previous research has shown an association between increased risk for suicide and recessions. This study looked at how alcohol plays a part in that association through analyzing data from 16 states and comparing use of alcohol in people who died by suicide and the general population before, during, and after the two key years of the 2008-2009 recession. According to Mark Kaplan, the study author and professor of social welfare at UCLA, during recessions there is generally an overall decrease in drinking, but heavy alcohol use increases, especially among people who are affected by the recession. “Surprisingly, there is evidence that individuals intoxicated at the time of death did not necessarily have a history of alcohol abuse prior to suicide,” Kaplan said. In addition, the percentage of people during the recession who took their lives and were drunk when they died increased more for men than in the general population.

Spark Extra! Check out the abstract of the study.