Precarious employment and the risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts

Kyoung Bok Min, Shin Goo Park, Sang Hee Hwang, Jin Young Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Objective: Although the effect of occupation or employment status on suicide risk is notable, there are few studies on the effect of precarious employment on suicide. We compared suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in precarious workers and their non-precarious counterparts using a representative sample from South Korea. Method: The 2008 Korean Community Health Survey data were used for this study. Information was obtained on 52,161 participants (41,063 employees with non-precarious work and 11,098 employees with precarious work). The outcome of the logistic regression model was the presence of suicidal thoughts and attempts, and the independent variables were the demographics, socioeconomic status, and health status. Results: Employees with precarious work were more likely to exhibit suicidal ideation (OR = 1.41; 95% CI, 1.28-1.55) and suicide attempts (OR = 1.52; 95% CI, 1.02-2.27) than employees with non-precarious work. After controlling for income and education (Model 2) depressive feelings (Model 6), compared with unadjusted model, remained significant but the odds ratio was largely attenuated, indicating a strong association between suicidal risk and socioeconomic and feelings of depression. Conclusion: Precarious workers had a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than non-precarious workers. Our study suggests that precarious employment is an important risk for suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-76
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Employment
  • Health inequality
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Socioeconomic disparity

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