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Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Jan;124(1):75-80. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409392. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Suicide and Ambient Temperature in East Asian Countries: A Time-Stratified Case-Crossover Analysis.

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Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Japan.



A limited number of studies suggest that ambient temperature contributes to suicide; these studies typically focus on a single nation and use temporally and spatially aggregated data.


We evaluated the association between ambient temperature and suicide in multiple cities in three East Asian countries.


A time-stratified case-crossover method was used to explore the relationship between temperature and suicide, adjusting for potential time-varying confounders and time-invariant individual characteristics. Sex- and age-specific associations of temperature with suicide were estimated, as were interactions between temperature and these variables. A random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate country-specific pooled associations of temperature with suicide.


An increase in temperature corresponding to half of the city-specific standard deviation was positively associated with suicide in most cities, although average suicide rates varied substantially. Pooled country-level effect estimates were 7.8% (95% CI: 5.0, 10.8%) for a 2.3°C increase in ambient temperature in Taiwan, 6.8% (95% CI: 5.4, 8.2%) for a 4.7°C increase in Korea, and 4.5% (95% CI: 3.3, 5.7%) for a 4.2°C increase in Japan. The association between temperature and suicide was significant even after adjusting for sunshine duration; the association between sunshine and suicide was not significant. The associations were greater among men than women in 12 of the 15 cities although not significantly so. There was little evidence of a consistent pattern of associations with age. In general, associations were strongest with temperature on the same day or the previous day, with little evidence of associations with temperature over longer lags (up to 5 days).


We estimated consistent positive associations between suicide and elevated ambient temperature in three East Asian countries, regardless of country, sex, and age.


Kim Y, Kim H, Honda Y, Guo YL, Chen BY, Woo JM, Ebi KL. 2016. Suicide and ambient temperature in East Asian countries: a time-stratified case-crossover analysis. Environ Health Perspect 124:75-80;

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