Socioeconomic Factors and their Influence on Suicide rate: a Multiple Regression case Study in Washington

Author(s): Zixuan Wu, Yueqian Zhang

Washington State's suicide rate is 11% higher than the national average, making it one of the top 10 states with the highest suicide rates in the U.S.. Although efforts have been made to address behavioral factors that contribute to suicide risk, little attention has been given to the impact of socioeconomic factors on the mental health of Washington residents. The purpose of the research is to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status and suicide rates in Washington State. The results of the study can help guide policymakers and healthcare professionals in developing intervention strategies to reduce suicide risk. The suicide rate among Washington residents from 2011-2020 was provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions participating in the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Three indicators, including poverty rate, lower than high school graduate rate, and unemployment rate, were chosen to explore the relationship between socioeconomic factors and suicide rate. The data from 57 jurisdictions were analyzed using R, with F tests and multiple linear regressions employed. The multiple R-squared value was 0.7648, indicating that 76.48% of the variation can be explained by the independent variables. These results suggest that poverty and employment rates have a significant positive relationship with suicide rate. However, the relationship between lower educational attainment and suicide rate was not statistically significant. Addressing the issue of rising suicide rates requires a collaborative effort between healthcare officials and policymakers. Policymakers should prioritize promoting job opportunities and providing educational resources to alleviate financial stress and increase access to mental healthcare.

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