Single and combined effects of marital status, education attainment, and employment status on suicide among working-age population: A case-control study in South Korea
Choi M., Sempungu, J.K., Lee, E.H., Chang, S-S., & Lee, Y.H.
Suicide in the working-age population is an important public health issue. This group is heterogeneous regarding marital status, education level, and employment status, which are generally important socioeconomic factors for suicide, and has a wide age range. This study aims to explore the individual and combined effect of these socioeconomic factors on suicide in different age groups among the working-age population.
This study utilized a population-based case-control design for the working-age population in South Korea. Suicide cases were identified in Korean Governmental Death Registry from 2008 to 2017, and eight controls from Korea Community Health Survey were matched to each case by gender, age group, and year of suicide. Conditional logistic regression models estimated the relationship between marital status and socioeconomic status (SES) including educational attainment and employment status and suicide and examined the combined effect of the SES indicators and marital status on suicide.
Low education, single status, and unemployment or economically inactive status were associated with suicide, but their magnitude varied across SES indicators. The association between SES and suicide was more pronounced in younger adults. The suicide risk was highest among divorced women aged 25–34 years (OR = 7.93; 95% CI: 7.21–8.72). Individuals experiencing two social adversities among SES or marital status had a significantly increased suicide risk. Those who are divorced and unemployed or economically inactive have the highest suicide risk, specifically among men aged 24–35 years (OR = 17.53; 95% CI: 14.96–20.55).
Marital status, education attainment, and employment status have a separate and combined impact on suicide among the working-age population. Specifically, the divorced and unemployed or economically inactive status amplified suicide risk, predominantly among young adults. Monitoring and intervention for those young adults should be considered for suicide prevention.