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Psychiatry Res. 2003 Aug 30;120(1):43-51.

Increasing seasonality of suicide in Australia 1970-1999.

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  • 1Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry, Locked Bag No. 1, Claremont, Western Australia, 6910, Australia.


Previous studies have found that rates of suicide have a distinct annual rhythm with a peak in spring. Two recent European studies, however, have found that the amplitude of this rhythm has decreased over time. The purpose of this study was to examine whether such effects are found in Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics data on all suicides in Australia 1970-1999 were analysed by spectral analysis. We found that suicide, violent suicide and suicide by males are seasonal and that the seasonal amplitude has increased over time. Males who use violent methods determine the seasonal effect. These results support previous findings that suicide and particularly violent suicide have a characteristic seasonal rhythm. However, the progressive increase in the amplitude of this rhythm over time in Australia is in direct contrast to other European findings. We suggest that this may be related to differences in patterns of anti-depressant use and also the effect of migration on the number of seasonally vulnerable individuals in Australia.

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