Demography

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 591–614 | Cite as

Factors Associated With Temporal and Spatial Patterns in Suicide Rates Across U.S. States, 1976–2000

Article

Abstract

Using pooled cross-sectional time-series data for the 50 U.S. states over a 25-year period, this article examines how well four conceptual groups of social correlates—demographic, economic, social, and cultural factors—are associated with the 1976–2000 patterns in overall suicide rates and suicide by firearms and other means. Unlike past research that typically considers only one dimension, this analysis differentiates between spatial and temporal variation in suicide rates to determine whether and how social correlates operate differently in these two contexts. Results indicate that suicide rates correspond closely to social correlates. Within U.S. states, lower overall suicide rates between 1976 and 2000 were associated with demographic change (e.g., larger numbers of foreign-born) as well as with fewer numbers of Episcopalians. Across U.S. states, variation in overall suicide rates over the period was related to demographic (percentage male), economic (per capita income), social (percentage divorced), and cultural (alcohol consumption and gun ownership) factors. However, findings differ importantly by type of suicide, and across time and space. Reasons for these distinct patterns are discussed.

Keywords

Suicide Social correlates Panel data U.S. States 

References

  1. Ajdacic-Gross, V., Killias, M., Hepp, U., Gadola, E., Bopp, M., Lauber, C., & Rössler, W. (2006). Changing times: A longitudinal analysis of international firearm suicide data. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1752–1755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison, P. (2005). Fixed effects regression using the SAS system. Cary, NC: SAS Institute, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, R. N., Miniño, A. M., Hoyert, D. L., & Rosenberg, H. M. (2001). Comparability of cause of death between ICD–9 and ICD–10: Preliminary estimates. National Vital Statistics Reports, 49(2), 1–32.Google Scholar
  4. Bankston, W. B., Allen, H. D., & Cunningham, D. S. (1983). Religion and suicide: A research note on sociology’s “one law.” Social Forces, 62, 521–528.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, E. M. (1980). Labor unionism and racial income inequality: A time-series analysis of the post–World War II period. The American Journal of Sociology, 85, 791–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Breault, K. D. (1988). Beyond the quick and dirty: Reply to Girard. The American Journal of Sociology, 93, 1479–1486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brent, D. A., Perper, J. A., Allman, C. J., Moritz, G. M., Wartella, M. E., & Zelenak, J. P. (1991). The presence and accessibility of firearms in the homes of adolescent suicides. A case control study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 266, 2989–2995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Burr, J., McCall, P., & Powell-Griner, E. (1994). Catholic religion and suicide. Social Science Quarterly, 75, 300–318.Google Scholar
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. (2009). National suicide statistics at a glance. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/statistics/index.html
  11. Conwell, Y., Duberstein, P. R., Connor, K., Eberly, S., Cox, C., & Caine, E. D. (2002). Access to firearms and risk for suicide in middle-aged and older adults. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 10, 407–416.Google Scholar
  12. Cook, P. (1979). The effect of gun availability on robbery and robber murder: A cross-sectional study of 50 cities. Policy Studies Reviews Annual, 3, 743–781.Google Scholar
  13. Cooper, P. N., & Milroy, C. M. (1995). The coroner’s system and under-reporting of suicide. Medicine, Science, and the Law, 35, 319–326.Google Scholar
  14. Cutright, P., & Fernquist, R. M. (2004). The culture of suicide through societal integration and religion: 1996–1998 gender-specific suicide rates in 50 American states. Archives of Suicide Research, 8, 271–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davis, J. A., Smith, T. W., & Marsden, P. V. (n.d.). General Social Surveys, 1972–2000 [Cumulative File]. ICPSR04697-v4. Storrs, CT: Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 2009-12-04. doi:10.3886/ICPSR04697.v4
  16. Duberstein, P. R., Conwell, Y., Conner, K. R., Eberly, S., Evinger, J. S., & Caine, E. D. (2004a). Poor social integration and suicide: Fact of artifact? A case–control study. Psychological Medicine, 34, 1331–1337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duberstein, P. R., Conwell, Y., Conner, K. R., Eberly, S., Evinger, J. S., & Caine, E. D. (2004b). Suicide at 50 years of age and older: Perceived physical illness, family discord, and financial strain. Psychological Medicine, 34, 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Durkheim, É. (1951). In J. A. Spaulding, G. Simpson, & G. Simpson (Eds.), Suicide, A study in sociology. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  19. Faris, R. E. L. (1955). Social disorganization (2nd ed.). New York: The Ronald Press Company.Google Scholar
  20. Faupel, C. E., Kowalski, G. S., & Starr, P. D. (1987). Sociology’s one law: Religion and suicide in the urban context. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 26, 523–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Florentine, J. B., & Crane, C. (2010). Suicide prevention by limiting access to methods: A review of theory and practice. Social Science & Medicine, 70, 1626–1632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gibbons, R. D., wan Hur, D., Bhaumik, K., & Mann, J. J. (2005). The relationship between antidepressant medication use and rate of suicide. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 165–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Girard, C. (1988). Church membership and suicide reconsidered: Comment on Breault. The American Journal of Sociology, 93, 1471–1479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gruenewald, P. J., Ponicki, W. R., & Mitchell, P. R. (1995). Suicide rates and alcohol consumption in the United States, 1970–1989. Addiction, 90, 1063–1075.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grunebaum, M. F., Ellis, S. P., Li, S., Oquendo, M. A., & Mann, J. J. (2004). Antidepressants and suicide risk in the United States, 1985–1999. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65, 1456–1462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gunnell, D., Middleton, N., Whitley, E., Dorling, D., & Frankel, S. (2003). Why are suicide rates rising in young men but falling in the elderly? A time-series analysis of trends in England and Wales 1950–1998. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 595–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hsiao, C. (2003). Analysis of panel data. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnston, J., & DiNardo, J. (1997). Econometric methods. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  29. Judge, G. G., Griffiths, W. E., Carter Hill, R., Lutkepohl, H., & Lee, T. C. (1985). The theory and practice of econometrics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Kalmar, S., Szanto, K., Rihmer, Z., Mazumdar, S., Harrison, K., & Mann, J. J. (2008). Antidepressant prescription and suicide rates: Effect of age and gender. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 38, 363–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kellermann, A. L., Rivara, F. P., & Somes, G. (1992). Suicide in the home in relation to gun ownership. The New England Journal of Medicine, 327, 467–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kennedy, P. (2003). A guide to econometrics. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Korenman, S., & Miller, J. E. (1997). Effects of long-term poverty on physical health of children in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In G. Duncan & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Consequences of growing up poor (pp. 70–99). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  34. Kowalski, G. S., Faupel, C. E., & Starr, P. D. (1987). Urbanism and suicide: A study of American counties. Social Forces, 66, 85–101.Google Scholar
  35. Lester, D. (1995). Is divorce an indicator of general or specific social malaise? Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 23, 203–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Little, R. E., & Vogel, R. E. (1992). Handgun ownership and the religion factor. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22, 1871–1877.Google Scholar
  37. Luo, F., Florence, C. S., Quispe-Agnoli, M., Ouyang, L., & Crosby, A. E. (2011). Impact of business cycles on U.S. suicide rates, 1928–2007. American Journal of Public Health, 101, 1139–1146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mairesse, J. (1990). Time-series and cross-sectional estimates on panel data: Why are they different and why should they be equal? In. G. Hartog, J. Ridder, & J. Theeuwes (Eds.), Panel data and labor market studies (pp. 81–95). New York: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  39. Mann, J. J., Apter, A., Bertolote, J., Beautrais, A., Currier, D., Haas, A., & Hendin, H. (2005). Suicide prevention strategies: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294, 2064–2074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Maris, R. W., Berman, A. L., & Silverman, M. M. (2000). Comprehensive textbook of suicidology. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  41. Marvell, T. B., & Moody, C. E. (1991). Age structure and crime rates: The conflicting evidence. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 7, 237–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McCall, P. L., & Land, K. C. (1994). Trends in white male adolescent, young-adult, and elderly suicide: Are there common underlying structural factors? Social Science Research, 23, 57–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Messner, S. R., & Sampson, R. J. (1991). The sex ratio, family disruption, and rates of violent crime: The paradox of demographic structure. Social Forces, 69, 693–713.Google Scholar
  44. Milane, M. S., Suchard, M. A., Wong, M. L., & Licinio, J. (2006). Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States. PLoS Medicine, 3, 816–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Miller, M., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2002). Household firearm ownership and suicide rates in the United States. Epidemiology, 13, 517–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Miller, M., & Hemenway, D. (2008). Guns and suicide in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 359, 989–991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Miller, M., Lippmann, S. J., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2007). Household firearm ownership and rates of suicide across the 50 United States. The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 62, 1029–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mouw, T. (2002). Racial differences in the effects of job contacts: Conflicting evidence from cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Social Science Research, 31, 511–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2011). Per capita ethanol consumption for states, census regions, and the United States, 1977–2009. Bethesda, MD: NIAAA. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Surveillance92/tab3.1_09.htm
  50. Pescosolido, B. A., & Georgianna, S. (1989). Durkheim, suicide, and religion: Toward a network theory of suicide. American Sociological Review, 54, 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pescosolido, B. A., & Mendelsohn, R. (1986). Social causation or social construction of suicide? An investigation into the social organization of official rates. American Sociological Review, 51, 80–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Phillips, J. A. (2006). Explaining discrepant findings in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses: An application to U.S. homicide rates. Social Science Research, 35, 948–974.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pridemore, W. A., & Snowden, A. J. (2009). Reduction in suicide mortality following a new national alcohol policy in Slovenia: An interrupted time-series analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 915–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sainsbury, P., & Jenkins, J. S. (1982). The accuracy of officially reported suicide statistics for purposes of epidemiological research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 36, 43–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H. D. (1942). Juvenile delinquency in urban areas. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  56. Simon, T. R., Swann, A. C., Powell, K. E., Potter, L. B., Kresnow, M., & O’Carroll, P. W. (2001). Characteristics of impulsive suicide attempts and attempters. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 32, 49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stack, S. (2000a). Suicide: A 15-year review of the sociological literature part I: Cultural and economic factors. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 30, 145–162.Google Scholar
  58. Stack, S. (2000b). Suicide: A 15-year review of the sociological literature part II: Modernization and social integration perspectives. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 30, 163–176.Google Scholar
  59. Stack, S., & Wasserman, I. M. (2010). Economic strain and suicide: A qualitative analysis. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 37, 103–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Steensland, B., Park, J. Z., Regnerus, M. D., Robinson, L. D., Wilcox, W. B., & Woodberry, R. D. (2000). The measure of American religion: Toward improving the state of the art. Social Forces, 79, 291–318.Google Scholar
  61. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program Populations (1970–2000) National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, Surveillance Systems Branch. (2011, January). Retrieved from www.seer.cancer.gov/popdata
  62. Thorlindsson, T., & Bjarnason, T. (1998). Modeling Durkheim on the micro level: A study of youth suicidality. American Sociological Review, 63, 94–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). (1969–2000). Regional Economic Information System: 1969–2000. Retrieved from http://cba.unomaha.edu/faculty/cdecker/WEB/Geospatial%20and%20Statistical%20Data%20Center.htm
  64. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (1967–1999). Consumer price index–All urban consumers: 1967–1999. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov
  65. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics (1970–2000). Mortality detail file: External cause extract, 1970–2000. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor].Google Scholar
  66. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (n.d.). Local area unemployment statistics, 1970–2000. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment
  67. van Poppel, F., & Day, L. H. (1996). A test of Durkheim’s theory of suicide—Without committing the “ecological fallacy. American Sociological Review, 61, 500–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Van Tubergen, F., teGrotenhuis, M., & Ultee, W. (2005). Denomination, religious context, and suicide: Neo-Durkheimian multilevel explanations tested with individual and contextual data. The American Journal of Sociology, 111, 797–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wasserman, I. M. (1984). Imitation and suicide: A reexamination of the Werther effect. American Sociological Review, 49, 427–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wasserman, I. M. (1989). The effects of war and alcohol consumption patterns on suicide: United States, 1910–1933. Social Forces, 68, 513–530.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging ResearchRutgers, the State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

Personalised recommendations