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Seasonal and Weather Factors in Parasuicide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Andrew Barker*
Affiliation:
Moorgreen Hospital, Botley Road, Southampton
Keith Hawton
Affiliation:
Warneford Hospital, Oxford
Joan Fagg
Affiliation:
University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford
Chris Jennison
Affiliation:
School of Mathematical Sciences, Bath University, Claverton Down, Bath
*
Dr A. Barker, Senior Registrar in Old Age Psychiatry, Moorgreen Hospital, Botley Road, West End, Southampton

Abstract

Background

Seasonal variation in suicide and parasuicide has previously been reported. Few investigations have examined whether meteorological factors could influence suicidal behaviour, and the inconclusive results produced may be due to a variety of methodological problems. The present study overcomes some previous difficulties and tested whether parasuicide admisson rate is related to weather variables.

Method

Over 12 000 admissions for parasuicide were analysed by month, season, and in relation to meteorological data, which were measured close to the admitting hospital.

Results

Marked seasonal (P < 0.001) and monthly (P < 0.001) variations in mean daily parasuicide numbers were seen in women but not men. Small but highly significant correlations were demonstrated between parasuicide rate and weather parameters (P < 0.01), which were more marked in women (P < 0.01). These effects were additional to the monthly variation (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Weather has a small influence on parasuicide. Gender differences in body temperature regulation might account for the sex difference seen.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1994 

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