Social Indicators Research

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 199–233 | Cite as

Suicide and happiness: Seven tests of the connection

  • Jana Weerasinghe
  • Lorne Tepperman


Indirectly, this paper examines the empirical connections between suicide and happiness by looking at the connection of each with seven standard demographic characteristics. They are sex, age, race, parental status, marital status, religiosity and employed status. These seven are chosen because a lot of data are available. We then examine the relationship of these same seven variables to suicide. Our findings indicate that marital status, religiosity and employment status have a (predicted) similar effect on suicide and happiness. Parenthood has an unclear relationship with suicide and happiness. Finally, sex, age and race have dissimilar effects on suicide and happiness. On the basis of this admittedly preliminary analysis, it would be impossible to conclude that happiness and suicide are closely (if inversely) related. First, there is the chance that suicides or happiness levels have been systematically misreported. Second, there may be a problem with our lumping together happiness and satisfaction. Third, there may be a problem with the seven particular independent variables we examined. Had we examined a different seven (or seventy) we might have drawn a different conclusion. In particular, we might have done better with comparative (or cognitive) variables derived from multiple discrepancies theory (MDT), than with demographic ones. In the end, the connection between happiness and suicide is far from certain. More research is needed.


Marital Status Demographic Characteristic Preliminary Analysis Employment Status Parental Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jana Weerasinghe
    • 1
  • Lorne Tepperman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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