According to a study by researchers from Waseda University and Osaka University, different sex and age groups were found to die from suicide at different times of the day and days of the week. For instance, females and elderly males were more likely to die by suicide during the day than at night, and suicide by middle-aged males was found to be most frequent in the early morning, especially on Mondays after the end of Japan’s high growth period.
Currently, it is said that 800,000 people worldwide commit suicide every year. To implement effective suicide prevention efforts, it becomes necessary to specify the time and season of when suicides occur the most, improve support services accordingly, and better reach out to people high at risk. However, a systematic research on this topic had not been previously carried out at the national or international level.
In this particular study, the researchers analyzed the diurnal and daily patterns of over 850,000 suicide deaths in Japan between 1974 and 2014 by sex and age groups, and investigated whether these patterns are related to Japan’s economic conditions. They also observed that time patterns of suicide varied significantly over time, which suggests that biological circadian rhythm is not the only factor affecting the time patterns.
Though there may be a discrepancy between the time of death and time of suicide attempt because the latter was not examined, the findings from this study suggest that time patterns of suicide unique to each sex and age groups should be considered in future suicide prevention efforts, especially during a time of weak economy.
The study was presented online in Elsevier’s Journal of Affective Disorders on September 17, 2018.
- Diurnal variation in suicide timing by age and gender: Evidence from Japan across 41 years
- Published online in Journal of Affective Disorders on September 17, 2018
- Authors: J. Boo, T. Matsubayashi and M. Ueda
- DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.09.030