Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Suicide in the workplace "contagious"

09.03.2009
It has previously been known that the risk of suicide increases if a family member has taken his/her life.

This connection is also confirmed in a new study from Stockholm University in Sweden and the University of Oxford. But the study also reveals something that was previously unknown: suicide in the workplace increases the risk of more people killing themselves.

The contagious effect, which is statistically significant only in the case of men, is greater than that of suicide in the family, since more individuals are involved.

Each year some 1,500 Swedes decide to end their lives. The reasons are often personal and can be numerous, such as mental or physical disease.

Previous research has shown that people's choices are affected by their surroundings. Various types of behavior, feelings, and attitudes are spread in social networks. The researchers at Stockholm University and the University of Oxford have studied whether such a drastic step as taking your life can also be influenced by others. The study is based on comprehensive data on all individuals who lived and worked in Stockholm County during the 1990s.

"By tying together relatives and colleagues, we could see which individuals have someone in the family or in the workplace who committed suicide. Then we studied whether the suicides of others increase or decrease their risk of suicide when we have controlled for other known risk factors," says Monika K. Nordvik, PhD, who during her doctoral studies in sociology at Stockholm University was one of the researchers who carried out the study.

The researchers discovered that the risk of suicide increased markedly both for women and men if someone in the family has taken their own life, which is confirmed by previous research. But the study also showed that men's suicide risk increased if they have had one or more work mates who had killed themselves in the last year. On the basis of how many suicides, statistically speaking, can be ascribed to this phenomenon, it turns out that workplace exposure prompts more new suicides than that within the family.

"Since there are so many more individuals who experience a suicide in their workplace, the aggregate effect is greater than what can be ascribed to the family, even though a suicide in the family obviously has a greater impact on the suicide risk of the individual in question," says Professor Peter Hedström at Oxford University.

All in all the study indicates that twice as many suicides among men can be ascribed to the "contagious effect" of the workplace than to that of the family.

Of course, such a study raises issues of research ethics and what information researchers can access about people.

"The data we work with is de-identified. This means we can't see who it is or where he or she works, since all such information has been replaced with number codes," says Monika K. Nordvik.

Peter Hedström, Ka-Yuet Liu, Monica K. Nordvik Interaction Domains and Suicide: A Population-based Panel Study of Suicides in Stockholm, 1991-1999 Social Forces - Volume 87, Number 2, December 2008, pp. 713-740.

The article is part of Monica K. Nordvik's doctoral dissertation in sociology, Contagious Interactions - Essays on social and epidemiological networks.

For more information, please contact:
Monica K Nordvik, PhD., phone: +46 (0)63-199738, e-mail monica.nordvik@fhi.se
Peter Hedström, professor, University of Oxford, e-post peter.hedstrom@nuffield.ox.ac.uk

Maria Erlandsson | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

A new dead zone in the Indian Ocean could impact future marine nutrient balance

06.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

06.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>