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Keywords:

  • suicide;
  • seasonality;
  • suicide methods;
  • gender differences;
  • age differences

Christodoulou C, Douzenis A, Papadopoulos FC, Papadopoulou A, Bouras G, Gournellis R, Lykouras L. Suicide and seasonality.

Objective:  Seasonal variation of deaths by suicide offers an important pathway in the study of possible suicide determinants of suicide and consequently suicide prevention.

Method:  We conducted a review of the literature on suicide seasonality, assessing articles published between 1979 and 2009.

Results:  The majority of the studies confirm a peak in spring, mainly for men, older individuals, and violent methods of suicide. A secondary peak during autumn is observed. There is no common seasonality pattern for suicide methods. However, there are also certain studies that did not confirm seasonal variation. Inconsistent results with reduced, unchanged, and even increased suicide seasonality have been reported. Aspects on the association between seasonality and suicides are discussed. Except sex, age, and method of suicide, other parameters were taken into account to find more specific characteristics of seasonality in suicides as well. The influence of clinical, bioclimatic, sociodemographic as well as biological factors seems to affect the seasonal variation.

Conclusion:  Studies from both the Northern and the Southern hemisphere report a seasonal pattern for suicides. These studies are not only an important source of epidemiological data for suicides but also represent a global effort to uncover hidden parameters of this self-destructive behaviour.