International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 1045–1053

Atmospheric pressure and suicide attempts in Helsinki, Finland

  • Laura Hiltunen
  • Reija Ruuhela
  • Aini Ostamo
  • Jouko Lönnqvist
  • Kirsi Suominen
  • Timo Partonen
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00484-011-0518-2

Cite this article as:
Hiltunen, L., Ruuhela, R., Ostamo, A. et al. Int J Biometeorol (2012) 56: 1045. doi:10.1007/s00484-011-0518-2

Abstract

The influence of weather on mood and mental health is commonly debated. Furthermore, studies concerning weather and suicidal behavior have given inconsistent results. Our aim was to see if daily weather changes associate with the number of suicide attempts in Finland. All suicide attempts treated in the hospitals in Helsinki, Finland, during two separate periods, 8 years apart, were included. Altogether, 3,945 suicide attempts were compared with daily weather parameters and analyzed with a Poisson regression. We found that daily atmospheric pressure correlated statistically significantly with the number of suicide attempts, and for men the correlation was negative. Taking into account the seasonal normal value during the period 1971–2000, daily temperature, global solar radiation and precipitation did not associate with the number of suicide attempts on a statistically significant level in our study. We concluded that daily atmospheric pressure may have an impact on suicidal behavior, especially on suicide attempts of men by violent methods (P < 0.001), and may explain the clustering of suicide attempts. Men seem to be more vulnerable to attempt suicide under low atmospheric pressure and women under high atmospheric pressure. We show only statistical correlations, which leaves the exact mechanisms of interaction between weather and suicidal behavior open. However, suicidal behavior should be assessed from the point of view of weather in addition to psychiatric and social aspects.

Keywords

Global solar radiationPrecipitationTemperatureSeasonWeather

Supplementary material

484_2011_518_MOESM1_ESM.doc (34 kb)
Supplementary table 1Daily distribution of suicide attempts during cluster weeks in each season, shown separately for women (W) and men (M). (DOC 34 kb)
484_2011_518_MOESM2_ESM.doc (39 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 39 kb)

Copyright information

© ISB 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Hiltunen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Reija Ruuhela
    • 3
  • Aini Ostamo
    • 1
  • Jouko Lönnqvist
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kirsi Suominen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timo Partonen
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Finnish Meteorological InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse ServicesNational Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland