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Unemployment and suicide
  1. E Agerbo
  1. National Centre for Register-based Research, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr E Agerbo; 

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Is the link always causal?

Suicide is more frequent among people who are unemployed.1 The suicide-unemployment association has been debated since sociologist Emil Durkheim’s classic study2 over 100 years ago concluded that unemployment increased social isolation, which then raised the risk of suicide. He further concluded that the number of suicides in a society did not have any specific association with the occurrence of mental disorders at the ecological level.

Many studies have suggested that the suicide-unemployment link is causal, or partially caused by a selection process governed by the effect of common unobserved factors, such as mental illness, leading both to unemployment and suicide, or that the link is reverse causal, so that a suicidal behaviour leads to unemployment, or more rarely argued, that there is …

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