Woo JM, Gibbons RD, Rogers CA, Qin P, Kim JB, Roberts DW, Noh ES, Mann JJ, Postolache TT. Pollen counts and suicide rates. Association not replicated.
Objective: To replicate a previously reported association between pollen counts and county suicide rates in the continental United States, across space and time.
Method: The authors evaluated the relationship between airborne pollen counts and suicide rates in 42 counties of the continental United States, containing a pollen-counting station participating in the Aeroallergen Monitoring Network in the United States (N = 120 076 suicides), considering years’ quarter, age group, sex, race, rural/urban location, number of local psychiatrists, and median household income, from 1999 to 2002. The county-level effects were broken into between-county and within-county.
Results: No within-county effects were found. Between-county effects for grass and ragweed pollen on suicide rates lost statistical significance after adjustment for median income, number of psychiatrists, and urban vs. rural location.
Conclusion: Future research is necessary to reappraise the previously reported relationship between pollen levels and suicide rates that may have been driven by socioeconomic confounders.