Online Program

Suicidal thoughts among adults by selected occupations --United States, 2008-2010

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Alex E. Crosby, MD, MPH, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Beth Han, MD, PhD, MPH, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD
Lavonne Ortega, MD, MPH, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Sciences, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Sharyn Parks, PhD, MPH, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Joseph Gfroerer, BA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Background: There have been conflicting findings of increased risk of suicidal behavior among certain occupations such as health care practitioners. This study examined the association of suicidal thoughts with selected occupational groups among adults in the United States using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH is a nationally representative survey administered to civilian, non-institutionalized adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. Methods: This study examined 77,300 currently employed adults aged 18-64 years who participated in the 2008-2010 NSDUH. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was applied among the overall study sample and then stratified models by age (18 to 29, 30 to 49, and 50 to 64) were applied. Results: None of the occupational categories we examined in the multivariate regression models had significantly higher levels of risk for serious thoughts of suicide than our reference category (management-related occupations). Comparing suicidal thoughts between occupational groups and the national average stratified by age, only one group, sales and related workers aged 18 to 29 years, had a significantly higher rate of suicidal thoughts than the national average for this age group. Moreover, certain occupations (e.g., administrative and office support) reported significantly lower suicidal thoughts than the national average, although those reports varied by age. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that specific occupations previously associated with increased rates of suicide are not likewise associated with increased reports of suicidal thoughts, however some occupations did report increased levels of suicidal thoughts which may warrant focused intervention.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Discuss why suicidal thoughts are important public health issues. Describe the National Survey for Drug Use and Health. Compare the patterns of suicidal thoughts by occupational category.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health, Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have had previous successful experience presenting material at national scientific conferences including previous APHA annual meetings. I have background working as an epidemiologist and have conducted studies on the topic of suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4049.0: Suicide prevention