Testing Durkheim's theory of suicide: additional results from Germany
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In a recent study of 14 European countries, Lester (1993), using inference statistical techniques, confirmed Durkheim's (1897) observation that lower birth rates were associated with higher suicide rates in 1870 and 1980. Due to changes in national boundaries, Germany was excluded from these analyses. Among the federal states of Germany, Bavaria most suitably lends itself to a study of the relationship between suicide and familial integration over time. A long-term analysis of the years between 1865 and 1980 reveals a prominent reciprocal relationship (r=−0.87;P<0.001) between rates of suicide and birth in Bavaria. Marriage rates, on the other hand, correlate only minimally (r=−0.19 ns) with rates of suicide. Our results accord with Durkheim's view that unlike birth rates, higher marriage rates per se are only slightly associated with suicide rates.
Key wordsSuicide Birth rate Marriage Bavaria (Germany)
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