Saf Health Work.  2012 Dec;3(4):294-297.

Investigating the Time Lag Effect between Economic Recession and Suicide Rates in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Workers in Korea

  • 1Occupational Lung Disease Institute, Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service, Ansan, Korea.
  • 2Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • 3Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Wonju College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju, Korea.


Previous studies on the vast increase in suicide mortality in Southeast Asia have indicated that suicide rates increase in parallel with a rise in unemployment or during periods of economic recession. This paper examines the effects of economic recession on suicidal rates amongst agriculture, fisheries, and forestry workers in Korea. Monthly time-series gross domestic product (GDP) data were linked with suicidal rates gathered from the cause of death records between1993-2008. Data were analyzed using generalized additive models to analyze trends, while a polynomial lag model was used to assess the unconstrained time lag effects of changes in GDP on suicidal rate. We found that there were significant inverse correlations between changes in GDP and suicide for a time lag of one to four months after the occurrence of economic event. Furthermore, it was evident that the overall relative risks of suicide were high enough to bring about social concern.


Suicide; Economic recession; Time series analysis
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