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The Effects of Area and Individual Social Characteristics on Suicide Risk: A Multilevel Study of Relative Contribution and Effect Modification

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyse how area characteristics affect suicide mortality and to assess whether the effects of individual socio-economic characteristics vary in socio-economically different areas. Data come from the 1990 census records of 15–99-year-old Finns linked to death records in 1991–2001 including 13,589 suicides. Area characteristics were obtained for 85 functional regions. We show that hypotheses of interaction between individual and area socio-economic status for suicide mortality are not supported. However, area socio-economic characteristics, family cohesion and voting turnout are consistently related to suicide. The effects of median income and income inequality are less consistent. Adjusting for individual level variables partly attenuate these associations. The results indicate that improving the areas people live in may prevent suicide.

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Martikainen, P., Mäki, N. & Blomgren, J. The Effects of Area and Individual Social Characteristics on Suicide Risk: A Multilevel Study of Relative Contribution and Effect Modification. Eur J Population 20, 323–350 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-004-3807-1

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