The Richard Cory Phenomenon: Suicide and Wealth in Kansas City, Missouri

This case-control study investigates the relationship between suicide and wealth in Kansas City, Missouri. House and personal property appraisal data on all victims of suicide from 1998 and 2002 and victims from a control population of deaths reported to the Jackson County Medical Examiner during the same time interval were obtained from the Jackson County Government website. The controls were matched to suicide cases by race, gender, year of death, and age at death (±1 year). Data from the 426 members of each group of suicides and controls indicate that suicide victims were: 1) 77% more likely than controls to have lived in houses rather than in apartments or trailers, 2) more likely than controls to have lived in more expensive houses (mean values $70,143 versus $61,513 respectively, p=0.04) and 3) more likely to have killed themselves because of factors other than financial strain (8.0% of suicides showed financial strain).

Full article published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 50, No. 2 (March 2005), pages 443-447.

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