Research Publication Title

Does the State of the Economy Effect Adolescent Suicide Rates?

Presenter Information

Dominic JachettaFollow

Major

Economics

Faculty Mentor

Leslee Conaway Chris Clark

Keywords

Adolescents, Suicide, Economy, Unemployment, Poverty Rate, Income per Capita

Abstract

Dominic Jachetta Senior Seminar Dr. Conaway Does the Economy Affect Adolescent Suicide Rates? Over recent years, adolescent suicide rates have risen a noticeable amount. With adolescents essentially being the future of our country, any amount of these individuals taking their life at such an early age is concerning. Past research has looked at the effects of the economy on suicide, but not specifically in adolescents; it was found that unemployment causes more psychological distress which in turn leads to more suicides (Lester, Yang 2003). In order to assess the possible link between the economy and adolescent suicide rates, I am using an Ordinary Least Squares model with the unemployment rate and poverty rate as my key independent variables. When an adolescent’s guardian loses his or her job, this may result in the household falling below the poverty line. As both of these happen, the adolescent’s utility of living is lowered due to the change in lifestyle that follows unemployment. As their utility continues to decrease, it may get to a point where the adolescent feels it is not worth living anymore, causing them to take their own life. In this study, both the unemployment rate and the poverty rate are recorded as an annual average for the United States in a given year. In my results, both of my key variables have statistical significance, with the unemployment rate holding a negative coefficient and the poverty rate holding a positive coefficient.

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Does the State of the Economy Effect Adolescent Suicide Rates?

Dominic Jachetta Senior Seminar Dr. Conaway Does the Economy Affect Adolescent Suicide Rates? Over recent years, adolescent suicide rates have risen a noticeable amount. With adolescents essentially being the future of our country, any amount of these individuals taking their life at such an early age is concerning. Past research has looked at the effects of the economy on suicide, but not specifically in adolescents; it was found that unemployment causes more psychological distress which in turn leads to more suicides (Lester, Yang 2003). In order to assess the possible link between the economy and adolescent suicide rates, I am using an Ordinary Least Squares model with the unemployment rate and poverty rate as my key independent variables. When an adolescent’s guardian loses his or her job, this may result in the household falling below the poverty line. As both of these happen, the adolescent’s utility of living is lowered due to the change in lifestyle that follows unemployment. As their utility continues to decrease, it may get to a point where the adolescent feels it is not worth living anymore, causing them to take their own life. In this study, both the unemployment rate and the poverty rate are recorded as an annual average for the United States in a given year. In my results, both of my key variables have statistical significance, with the unemployment rate holding a negative coefficient and the poverty rate holding a positive coefficient.