Association of meteorological factors with suicide


Dr Eberhard A. Deisenhammer, Department of General Psychiatry, University of Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria


Objective:  To identify weather factors associated with an increased risk of suicide. In a number of prior studies an influence of meteorological conditions on the incidence of suicide or attempted suicide has been suggested.

Method:  Official data on the suicide cases of the state of Tyrol, Austria, assessed over a period of 6 years (n = 702) were correlated with a number of meteorological factors assessed at eight weather stations.

Results:  The risk of committing suicide was significantly higher on days with high temperatures, low relative humidity or a thunderstorm and on days following a thunderstorm. The multiple logistic regression analysis left ‘temperature’ and ‘thunderstorm on the preceding day’ as significant factors, even after adjustment for sociodemographic and geographical variables.

Conclusion:  Within the interaction of psychological and environmental influences in the development of suicidal ideation and behaviour, specific meteorological conditions may additionally contribute to the risk of suicide in predisposed individuals.