A comparison of farming- and non-farming-related suicides from the United States’ National Violent Deaths Reporting System, 2003–2016

Alison Kennedy, Julie Cerel, Athena Kheibari, Stuart Leske, James Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Farmers are at higher risk of suicide than other occupations and the general population. The complex suicide risk factors have not been examined in a large, population-wide study across a significant time period. This observational study draws on existing data from the United States’ National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), including 140,523 farming- or non-farming-related suicide decedents between 2003 and 2016 from across 40 states. “Farming-related” decedents included 2,801 suicides. Farmers had higher odds of being male, older, less well-educated, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Farmers had higher odds of using firearms and—when farmers used a gun—higher odds of using a long-arm weapon. Farmers had lower odds of having a known mental health condition or job problem, and lower odds of having made a previous suicide attempt or leaving a suicide note. Findings highlight the complexity of suicide risk within the context of farming in the United States and reinforce the need for tailored prevention efforts; employing means restriction of firearms; and emphasizing that traditional risk factors may not be as common in the farming population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-514
Number of pages11
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The American Association of Suicidology

Keywords

  • United States
  • farmer
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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