Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Suicide rates soar in Greece as economic cuts hurt citizens

Date:
April 22, 2014
Source:
University of Portsmouth
Summary:
The effect of economic cuts on debt ravaged Greece included a dramatic rise in the number of men committing suicide, according to new research. This is the first to examine the direct impact of fiscal austerity on suicide rates in any country. According to the research, every one per cent fall in government spending in Greece leads to a 0.43 per cent rise in suicides among men. Put simply, 551 men committed suicide between 2009 and 2010 in Greece solely due to fiscal austerity.

The effect of economic cuts on debt ravaged Greece included a dramatic rise in the number of men committing suicide, according to new research.

Related Articles


The research, by Dr Nikolaos Antonakakis and Professor Alan Collins at the University of Portsmouth, is the first to examine the direct impact of fiscal austerity on suicide rates in any country.

The two economists are now calling for governments and agencies to find ways of stopping people being broken by harsh economic cuts.

The research is published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

According to the research, every one per cent fall in government spending in Greece leads to a 0.43 per cent rise in suicides among men. Put simply, 551 men committed suicide between 2009 and 2010 in Greece solely due to fiscal austerity.

Dr Antonakakis said: "We were surprised, this is a huge number, but the results were very clear -- more men commit suicide as economic conditions worsen.

"Interestingly, the effects of fiscal austerity and economic growth are gender-specific, with no obvious rise in the number of women committing suicide."

Men aged 45-89 are the most likely to commit suicide in response to harsh economic cuts because they are most likely to suffer drastic cuts to their salaries and pensions.

Surprisingly, the study -- which examined suicides and the economy over more than four decades -- also found an increase in alcohol consumption and divorce helped reduce suicide rates among the over-45s.

Dr Antonakakis, a Senior Lecturer in Portsmouth Business School and an Assistant Professor in Vienna University of Economics and Business, said: "Despite its legal obligation to assess the health effects of EU policies, the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission has been rather passive in terms of assessing the impact of the troika's push for austerity, and has rather limited EU commentary to advise how health ministries should cut their budgets.

"Only recently has the European Commission begun measures to release structural funds to support access to health care for those otherwise without cover.

"Euro zone leaders should put greater emphasis on stimulating debt-stricken economies to mitigate or even eliminate the negative effects of fiscal consolidation and austerity on suicides."

The authors are also calling for specialized suicide prevention programs to be set up in Greece to help the most distressed and vulnerable.

The researchers studied the number of suicides in Greece from 1968-2011.

The results provide the most comprehensive and up to date picture of the effect of the economic downturn on Greece, which received its first bailout of €110 billion in 2010 with strict conditions including tough austerity measures; privatisation of government assets; and dramatic changes to the country's industries and government. The effects of these measures include soaring unemployment rates and a sharp decline in growth.

The researchers found:

- As growth fell and unemployment rose, suicides among men rose by between 1.4 and 2.2 per cent, respectively;

- Negative economic growth and rising unemployment lead to significantly increased likelihood of younger men, aged 25-44, committing suicide, with a one per cent increase in unemployment leading to a 3.5 per cent rise in suicides among this age group, though migration and receiving money from family members who had migrated is found to reduce suicides among both the youth and female population.

- A decline in fertility rates of women aged 25-64 leads to an increase in suicides rates among men. This may be because fertility rate usually serves as proxy for the degree of social integration and a decline in fertility can be interpreted as an increase in social disintegration and exclusion;

- And that alcohol consumption and divorce reduce the suicide risk among men aged 45 and older.

The outlook for Greece in the short to medium term does not look encouraging, Dr Antonakakis said.

"The situation in Greece is improving and the country recently returned to the bond markets to get self-financed for the first time since it needed international rescue loans in 2010. However, the road is still very steep. Unemployment is at 27 per cent, and among youth, it is 60 per cent, and the country's debt is still at an unsustainable 170 per cent, which cannot be self-served."

The researchers are calling for more research to discover if the effects of fiscal austerity found in Greece apply also to other countries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Portsmouth. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nikolaos Antonakakis, Alan Collins. The Impact of Fiscal Austerity on Suicide: On the Empirics of a Modern Greek Tragedy. Social Science & Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.04.019

Cite This Page:

University of Portsmouth. "Suicide rates soar in Greece as economic cuts hurt citizens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084657.htm>.
University of Portsmouth. (2014, April 22). Suicide rates soar in Greece as economic cuts hurt citizens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084657.htm
University of Portsmouth. "Suicide rates soar in Greece as economic cuts hurt citizens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422084657.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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