The Relationship between Attitudes toward Work and Suicide in Sweden

Julianne Ohlander, Pennsylvania State University

Sweden once had one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The suicide rate declined by more than one-third between the years 1970 and 2002. The greatest declines in the Swedish suicide rate have occurred among the working-aged population. Attitudes about work in Sweden have changed, and this attitude transformation may be associated with the decline in Swedish suicide. The changes in attitudes toward work among Swedes may be associated with changes in their attitudes toward solidarity. This paper combines individual level survey data from the World Value Surveys conducted in 1981, 1990, 1996, and 2000 and aggregate level data from various branches of Statistics Sweden (the national central bureau of statistics) to evaluate the relationship between unemployment, solidarity, attitudes about the importance of work, and suicide. Results of the time series regression will be presented.

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Presented in Session 129: Does Community Matter for Health?