Original Article

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 395-403

Effects of temperature variation on suicide in five U.S. counties, 1991–2001

  • P. G. DixonAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University Email author 
  • , A. N. McDonaldAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , K. N. ScheitlinAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , J. E. StapletonAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , J. S. AllenAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , W. M. CarterAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , M. R. HolleyAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , D. D. InmanAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University
  • , J. B. RobertsAffiliated withDepartment of Geosciences, Mississippi State University

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Suicide Bioclimate Seasonality