Determining occupation for National Violent Death Reporting System records: An evaluation of autocoding programs

Jonathan Davis, Corinne Peek-Asa, Ann Marie Dale, Ling Zhang, Carri Casteel, Cara Hamann, Bradley A. Evanoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Suicide is a leading cause of death for working-age adults. Suicide risk varies across occupations. The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) collects information about violent deaths occurring in the United States. Occupation can be determined using autocoding programs with NVDRS data. The objective of this analysis is to determine the accuracy of autocoding programs for assigning occupations in the NVDRS. Methods: Deaths from suicide were identified in NVDRS for individuals age 16 and older from 2010 to 2017. Occupations were assigned after processing job description free text with autocoding programs. Job assigned by autocoding program were compared with the occupation code recorded on the death certificate. Results: Assignment of major occupation group had substantial agreement (Cohen's kappa > 0.7) for the two autocoding programs evaluated. Agreement of assigned code varied across race/ethnicity and occupation type. Conclusions: Autocoding programs provide an efficient method for identifying the occupation for decedents in NVDRS data. By identifying occupation, circumstances of suicide and rates of suicide can be studied across occupations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1027
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • O*NET
  • job exposure matrix
  • occupation coding
  • suicide
  • surveillance


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