Effects of temperature variation on suicide in five U.S. counties, 1991–2001
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- Dixon, P.G., McDonald, A.N., Scheitlin, K.N. et al. Int J Biometeorol (2007) 51: 395. doi:10.1007/s00484-006-0081-4
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Effects of weather variables on suicide are well-documented, but there is still little consistency among the results of most studies. Nevertheless, most studies show a peak in suicides during the spring season, and this is often attributed to increased temperatures. The purpose of this study is to test the relationship between monthly temperature and monthly suicide, independent of months or seasons, for five counties located across the United States. Harmonic analysis shows that four of the five counties display some seasonal components in the suicide data. However, simple linear regression shows no correlation between suicide and temperature, and discriminant analysis shows that monthly departure from mean annual suicide rates is not a useful tool for identifying months with temperatures that are colder or warmer than the annual average. Therefore, it appears that the seasonality of suicides is due to factors other than temperature.