NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Suicide among social workers in Rhode Island.
J Occup Med 1988 Mar; 30(3):211-213
Cause specific mortality patterns by occupation and industry were examined among Rhode Island residents who died during the years 1968 to 1978 using the age standardized proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) method with an emphasis on social workers. A computer file of death certificate records was scanned; information included decedent's sex, race, age at death, underlying cause of death, occupation, and industry. Age standardized PMRs were calculated by sex and race for an array of specific causes of death associated with specific occupations and industries. There were 50,493 white male decedents and 45,207 white female decedents; of these, 41 men and 66 women were social workers. Five of the male deaths (PMR 470) and four of the female deaths (PMR 510) among social workers were attributed to suicide, primarily by drugs and/or alcohol. Underreporting of suicides in the general population did not appear to significantly influence the finding of increased risk of suicide in social workers. The author concludes that social workers may represent a high risk group for suicide; high stress associated with social work and a tendency for individuals with dysfunctional patterns of response to stress to go into social work may underlie the problem.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Mortality-rates; Mortality-surveys; Mental-stress; Risk-factors; Epidemiology; Psychological-factors
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division