Sociodemographic inequalities of suicide: a population-based cohort study of adults in England and Wales 2011–21

I L Ward, K Finning, D Ayoubkhani, K Hendry, E Sharland, Louis Appleby, V Nafilyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The risk of suicide is complex and often a result of multiple interacting factors. Understanding which groups of the population are most at risk of suicide is important to inform the development of targeted public health interventions. Methods: We used a novel linked dataset that combined the 2011 Census with the population-level mortality data in England and Wales. We fitted generalized linear models with a Poisson link function to estimate the rates of suicide across different sociodemographic groups and to identify which characteristics are independent predictors of suicide. Results: Overall, the highest rates of suicide were among men aged 40-50 years, individuals who reported having a disability or long-term health problem, those who were unemployed long term or never had worked, and those who were single or separated. After adjusting for other characteristics such as employment status, having a disability or long-term health problem, was still found to increase the incidence of suicide relative to those without impairment [incidence rate ratio minimally adjusted (women) = 3.5, 95% confidence interval (CI)=3.3-3.6; fully adjusted (women) 3.1, 95% CI=3.0-3.3]. Additionally, while the absolute rate of suicide was lower in women compared with men, the relative risk in people reporting impairments compared with those who do not was higher in women compared with men. Conclusions: The findings of this work provide novel population-level insights into the risk of suicide by sociodemographic characteristics in England and Wales. Our results highlight several sociodemographic groups who may benefit from more targeted suicide prevention policies and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-217
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


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