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Unemployment became more common among females attempting suicide in Oxford between 1976 and 1985, although the rise was less than expected from the increased general-population female unemployment rate. Rates of attempted suicide among unemployed women between 1979 and 1982 were 7.5-10.9 times higher than those of employed women, and were particularly high in women unemployed for more than a year. Many more unemployed than employed women attempting suicide had a history of psychiatric difficulties, were suffering from alcoholism, and made repeat attempts. Two possible explanations are: firstly, the secondary consequences of unemployment increase the risk of suicidal behaviour; and, secondly, women already predisposed to psychiatric difficulties and hence attempted suicide are more likely to become unemployed.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





632 - 637


Adolescent, Adult, Alcoholism, Female, Humans, Mental Disorders, Middle Aged, Recurrence, Suicide, Attempted, Unemployment