Objective: Associations between debt and suicidal behaviour have been identified, but the research is sparse. Thus, more research is needed to understand the association between economic vulnerability and suicide. The study aimed to generate further knowledge about over-indebted individuals who have attempted suicide at least once.
Method: Participants were a Swedish sample comprising 641 over-indebted individuals. The inclusion criteria were that the participants should be indebted and have been subjected to debt collection measures and/or seizure orders by the Swedish Enforcement Authority. Participants answered questionnaires regarding socio-demographic variables, debt size, history of suicide attempt, critical life events, and social contacts, and filled the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). In the statistical analyses, Chi2 test for independence and t-test was used, and binary logistic regression to adjust for the confounding effects of the variables on each other.
Results: The analysis revealed that nearly one in five (19.3%, N = 123) had attempted suicide at least once. A larger part of the respondents who had a history of suicide attempts reported that they were living alone (OR 2.30 (95% CI 1.34-3.89, p = .002). Many of those living alone were women (χ2 (1, n = 121) = 4.88, p = 0.03, ɸ = 0.22).
Conclusions: The results of the current study point to the fact that economic vulnerability is an important psychosocial aspect to take into serious consideration concerning mental health and suicide prevention. Longitudinal research is needed to explain, predict and prevent suicide due to over-indebtedness.