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Psychiatry Res. 2005 Feb 28;133(2-3):205-13.

Suicides in the midnight sun--a study of seasonality in suicides in West Greenland.

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Department of Psychiatry, Nacka Hospital, 3 tr., SE-131 83 Nacka, Sweden.


Greenland is the most extreme of human habitats in regard to annual changes in natural light. From being very low, the rate of suicides in Greenland has increased during the past few decades to be among the highest in the world. Several studies have shown seasonality in suicides with spring or summer peaks, but this has not been previously shown in Greenland. Official data from 1968 to 1995 from West Greenland were pooled. A significant seasonality in the 833 suicides was found using Rayleigh's test, a peak in June and a trough in the winter. Suicides increased during the period, and reached high rates in most age groups, up to 577 per 100,000 person-years in men aged 15-24 years in 1990, and up to 147 per 100,000 person-years in women aged 15-24 years in 1995. Violent methods of suicide were used by 93%. Depression has been reported uncommonly. High alcohol intake and extended periods of light in the summer may contribute to impulsive-aggressive summer suicides.

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