Year: 2023 Source: SSM - Population Health. (2023). 22, 101376. SIEC No: 20230766
Background Suicide and homicide have long been viewed in Western culture as moral, ethical and legal equivalents. This view has underpinned many theoretical and empirical explorations into their relationship over the centuries. However, there has been little evaluation of longitudinal heterogeneity. Methods Suicide and homicide rates in 183 countries between 2000 and 2019 were collected from the World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Repository. Corresponding structural variables (i.e., GDP per capita, unemployment rate, percentage of urban population, percentage of elderly population, and Gini index) were acquired from The World Bank and Standardized World Income Inequality Database. Parallel-process latent class growth modelling was applied to identify different classes within the joint suicide and homicide rate trajectories. Multinomial logistic regression examined relationships between the structural covariates and trajectory classes. Results Four trajectory classes were identified, two with inverse relationships between suicide and homicide, and two with parallel relationships: 1) countries with increasing suicide rates and decreasing homicide rates (“suicide up, homicide down”: UD, n = 41) or 2) countries with decreasing suicide rates and increasing homicide rates (“suicide down, homicide up”: DU, n = 17); and 3) countries where suicide and homicide rates both trended up (UU, n = 19), or 4) both trended down (DD, n = 106). A higher average annual growth rate (AAGR) of GDP per capita was related to an increased possibility of being in DD than in DU. Countries with higher AAGR in unemployment rates were more likely to be in UD and UU than in DD, while those with higher AAGR in urbanization were less likely to be in UD than in DD. Conclusion The over-time relationship between suicide and homicide is heterogenous and complex. It is influenced differently by GDP per capita, urbanization and unemployment in different countries, and it is not well described by a single theory.