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Increased suicides during new year, but not during Christmas in Sweden: analysis of cause of death data 2006-2015
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Number of Authors: 22018 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 72, no 1, p. 72-74Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Previous studies have investigated the impact of the Christmas and New Year holiday on suicide rates. However, no such data has yet been published on Swedish suicides.

Aims: To examine the occurrence of suicides on these dates in Sweden between 2006 and 2015.

Methods: The suicide count for each date between December 15th and January 15th was obtained from the Swedish cause of death registry. The observations were transformed to Z-scores to enable calculation of p-values.

Results: A small but non-significant decrease in suicides was observed on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A significant spike was found on New Year’s Day (NYD) (Z = 3.40; p < .001), and these excess suicide occurred mainly among men aged 15–24 and 45–64. However, the number of suicides were somewhat lower than expected on the 31st of December (Z = −1.58; p = .115).

Discussion: The noted increase in suicide on NYD is in line with previous research from other countries. However, the decrease in suicides on the day before NYD suggests a delay rather than a spontaneous increase of suicides. Possible mechanisms to explain this phenomenon are discussed, such as the “broken promise effect”, increased alcohol consumption, or lower help-seeking and accessibility to care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 72, no 1, p. 72-74
Keywords [en]
Suicide, Sweden, holidays, Christmas, new year, alcohol use, prevention, broken promise effect
National Category
Psychology Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151192DOI: 10.1080/08039488.2017.1378716ISI: 000417846400011PubMedID: 28937861OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151192DiVA, id: diva2:1173007
Available from: 2018-01-11 Created: 2018-01-11 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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