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J Affect Disord. 2004 Sep;81(3):251-7.

A comparison of seasonal variation between suicide deaths and attempts in Hong Kong SAR.

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.



Seasonal variations in suicide deaths and attempted suicides have been reported for many countries. Recent research has suggested that seasonal patterns of suicide deaths have diminished considerably. The seasonality pattern between attempts and completed ones are not the same. This paper is the first one to examine seasonal variation between suicide deaths and attempts simultaneously.


Census and Statistics Department and the Hospital Authority provided mortality and morbidity data on suicides for the period 1997-2001 in Hong Kong SAR, respectively. Seasonal patterns of suicide deaths and attempts were examined by a harmonic analysis and a non-parametric chi-square test.


A significant seasonal variation was detected in suicide attempts with a markedly bi-seasonal pattern was found amongst females with a peak in May and October; only a cyclic pattern was observed for males with a peak in summer. The female attempters who used non-violent suicide methods contributed to the second peak in October. On the other hand, there was no evidence of significant differences in the seasonal distribution among the suicide deaths for males and females. Only a mild pattern was found amongst females involving in violent suicide deaths, while others can be treated as a random event and no significantly pattern was observed in our study. Overall, a significant difference in seasonal variation existed between suicide deaths and attempts (p-value<0.01).


This study reinforces the findings that seasonal variation in suicide appears to be diminishing. Also, suicide attempters and completed suicides in Hong Kong seem to arise from two non-identical but overlapping groups in the community.

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