Examining the Association between Racialized Economic Threat and White Suicide in the United States, 2000–2016

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Abstract

Suicide is steadily rising. Many blamed worsening economic conditions for this trend. Sociological theory established clear pathways between joblessness and suicide focused on status threat, shame, and consequent disruption of social relationships. However, recent empirical research provides little support for a link between unemployment and suicide. I attempt to reconcile this contradiction by focusing on white suicide and white employment-to-population ratio. Whiteness is not just a default category but a pervasive ideology that amplifies the effects of status loss. The white employment-to-population ratio represents a form of racialized economic threat and accounts for discouraged workers who have exited the labor force. I use longitudinal hybrid models with U.S. state-level data, 2000 to 2016, and find that decreasing employment is associated with increasing suicide among the white population and white men. I discuss this study’s contributions to the literature on suicide and joblessness and the emerging scholarship on whiteness and health.

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APA

Rambotti, S. (2022). Examining the Association between Racialized Economic Threat and White Suicide in the United States, 2000–2016. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221465211069873

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