Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Suicide In The Workplace 'Contagious,' Swedish Study Suggests

Date:
March 10, 2009
Source:
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)
Summary:
It has previously been known that the risk of suicide increases if a family member has taken his/her life. This connection is also confirmed in a new study from Stockholm University in Sweden and the University of Oxford. But the study also reveals something that was previously unknown: suicide in the workplace increases the risk of more people killing themselves. The contagious effect, which is statistically significant only in the case of men, is greater than that of suicide in the family, since more individuals are involved.

Each year some 1,500 Swedes decide to end their lives. The reasons are often personal and can be numerous, such as mental or physical disease.

Previous research has shown that people’s choices are affected by their surroundings. Various types of behavior, feelings, and attitudes are spread in social networks. The researchers at Stockholm University and the University of Oxford have studied whether such a drastic step as taking your life can also be influenced by others. The study is based on comprehensive data on all individuals who lived and worked in Stockholm County during the 1990s.

”By tying together relatives and colleagues, we could see which individuals have someone in the family or in the workplace who committed suicide. Then we studied whether the suicides of others increase or decrease their risk of suicide when we have controlled for other known risk factors,” says Monika K. Nordvik, PhD, who during her doctoral studies in sociology at Stockholm University was one of the researchers who carried out the study.

The researchers discovered that the risk of suicide increased markedly both for women and men if someone in the family has taken their own life, which is confirmed by previous research. But the study also showed that men’s suicide risk increased if they have had one or more work mates who had killed themselves in the last year. On the basis of how many suicides, statistically speaking, can be ascribed to this phenomenon, it turns out that workplace exposure prompts more new suicides than that within the family.

”Since there are so many more individuals who experience a suicide in their workplace, the aggregate effect is greater than what can be ascribed to the family, even though a suicide in the family obviously has a greater impact on the suicide risk of the individual in question,” says Professor Peter Hedström at Oxford University.

All in all the study indicates that twice as many suicides among men can be ascribed to the “contagious effect” of the workplace than to that of the family.

Of course, such a study raises issues of research ethics and what information researchers can access about people.

“The data we work with is de-identified. This means we can’t see who it is or where he or she works, since all such information has been replaced with number codes,” says Monika K. Nordvik.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter Hedström, Ka-Yuet Liu, Monica K. Nordvik Interaction Domains and Suicide: A Population-based Panel Study of Suicides in Stockholm, 1991-1999. Social Forces, 2008; 87 (2): 713-740

Cite This Page:

Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Suicide In The Workplace 'Contagious,' Swedish Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309093157.htm>.
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). (2009, March 10). Suicide In The Workplace 'Contagious,' Swedish Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309093157.htm
Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council). "Suicide In The Workplace 'Contagious,' Swedish Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090309093157.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins