Year: 2022 Source: International Journal of Social Psychiatry. (2022). 68(7), 1445– 1453. SIEC No: 20220875
Background: Economic hardship is an established suicidogenic factor. However, very little is known about whether financial difficulties in terms of debt problems, specifically, is related to suicide. This would seem to be an important research gap, not least at a time when the repercussions of the global financial crisis are still being felt by many people. Aims: This study sets out to examine whether experiencing financial indebtedness is related to suicide. Methods: For this purpose, people aged between 18 and 64 with a registration date for a debt in the Swedish Enforcement Authority register between 2015 and 2017 (n = 180,842) are followed up for a 1-year period for death by suicide and compared with a sample from the general Swedish population (n = 928,265). The analysis is based on penalized maximum likelihood logistic regressions. Results: Those who had experienced financial indebtedness were two and a half times more likely to commit suicide than those who had not lived through this experience (OR = 2.50), controlling for several demographic, socio-economic, and mental health conditions prior to the date of the registration at the Enforcement Authority. Conclusion: Debt repayment problems have a significant and detrimental impact on individuals’ risk of committing suicide, even when several other socioeconomic risk factors are controlled for. The results reinforce the importance of ongoing attempts to remove the issue of debt problem from its status as a rather hidden suicidogenic risk factor.