To Compare is to Despair? A Population-Wide Study of Neighborhood Composition and Suicide

By October 8, 2015Events, Seminar

Seminar 9 Oct

Speaker : Dr. Ka-Yuet LIU
Date : Oct 9, 2015 (Friday)
Time : 12:30 – 13:30
Venue : Studio 2, 2/F, BIR, 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam.


The suicide risk associated with an individual attribute depends on the context. Eight hypotheses about the interactions between neighborhood composition and country-of-origin, income and socially disadvantaged propositions are proposed based on social support, social comparison and regulation mechanisms. They are tested with a population-based dataset of all 1.4 million adults who lived in the greater Stockholm area in the 1990s. Results from multilevel analyses show that the effects of socio-demographic characteristics on suicide vary with neighborhood composition. The results suggest that neighborhood contexts adversely affect the suicide risk of some while they reduce the risk of the others. The results have implications on policy debates on rising income inequality, increased numbers of migrants and people living in poverty – phenomena that are found in Hong Kong as well as in other countries.

About the speaker

Ka-Yuet Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at UCLA. Her research examines the diffusion of behaviors and non-contagious diseases. She joined UCLA in 2012 after working at Columbia University, New York. Her recent publications focus on the rising prevalence of autism. Her paper “Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic” published in the American Journal of Sociology, won the Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Medical Sociology. Her doctorate research conducted at the University of Oxford focused on the effects of social interactions on suicide. Liu was named a Hellman Fellow (2014-15) for her research on the diffusion of non-medical exemptions to school vaccine requirements in California.


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Enquiries: Please contact Mr. Rickey YAU at or 28315232