Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1055–1059 | Cite as

Weekly lottery sales volume and suicide numbers: a time series analysis on national data from Taiwan

  • Vincent Chin-Hung Chen
  • Robert Stewart
  • Charles Tzu-Chi Lee
Original Paper



To investigate the association between weekly lottery sales and number of suicide deaths in Taiwan.


All suicides aged 15+ years during 2004–2006 in Taiwan were included. Poisson autoregression time series models investigated associations of weekly numbers with contemporaneous and recent sales from two national lotteries in operation. Adjustments were made for seasonal fluctuation, temperature, monthly unemployment and autocorrelation.


In fully adjusted models, suicide deaths were negatively correlated with sales of tickets for a low-prize, low-cost lottery system. However, they were correlated positively with recent sales for a higher-cost, larger-prize system. Both correlations were stronger for male than female suicide numbers but differed in terms of age groups most strongly implicated.


Associations between lottery sales and suicide numbers differed according to the nature of the lottery. A low-prize, low-publicity system appeared to be more benign than a high-prize, high-publicity one.


Suicide Lottery Gambling Time series study 



This study is supported by a grant from the Kaohsiung Medical University Research Foundation (KMU-Q098027).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Chin-Hung Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Stewart
    • 3
  • Charles Tzu-Chi Lee
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineChung Shan Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Department of Public HealthKaohsiung Medical UniversityKaohsiung CityTaiwan

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