Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis , 1 , Isaia Chatzikosta 2 , Konstantinos Pastiadis 3 , Prodromos Zanis 4 , Wolfram Kawohl 5 , Ad J. F. M. Kerkhof 6 , Alvydas Navickas 7 , Cyril Höschl 8 , Dusica Lecic-Tosevski 9 , Eliot Sorel 10 , Elmars Rancans 11 , Eva Palova 12 , Georg Juckel 13 , Goran Isacsson 14 , Helena Korosec Jagodic 15 , Ileana Botezat-Antonescu 16 , Janusz Rybakowski 17 , Jean Michel Azorin 18 , John Cookson 19 , John Waddington 20 , Peter Pregelj 21 , Koen Demyttenaere 22 , Luchezar G. Hranov 23 , Lidija Injac Stevovic 24 , Lucas Pezawas 25 , Marc Adida 18 , Maria Luisa Figuera 26 , Miro Jakovljević 27 , Monica Vichi 28 , Giulio Perugi 29 , 30 , Ole A. Andreassen 31 , 32 , Olivera Vukovic 33 , Paraskevi Mavrogiorgou 13 , Peeter Varnik 34 , Peter Dome 35 , 36 , Petr Winkler 8 , Raimo K. R. Salokangas 37 , Tiina From 37 , Vita Danileviciute 7 , Xenia Gonda 35 , 36 , 38 , 39 , Zoltan Rihmer 35 , 36 , Jonas Forsman 14 , Anne Grady 20 , Thomas Hyphantis 40 , Ingrid Dieset 31 , 32 , Susan Soendergaard 41 , Maurizio Pompili 42 , Per Bech 41
9 August 2016
It is well known that suicidal rates vary considerably among European countries and the reasons for this are unknown, although several theories have been proposed. The effect of economic variables has been extensively studied but not that of climate.
Data from 29 European countries covering the years 2000–2012 and concerning male and female standardized suicidal rates (according to WHO), economic variables (according World Bank) and climate variables were gathered. The statistical analysis included cluster and principal component analysis and categorical regression.
The derived models explained 62.4 % of the variability of male suicidal rates. Economic variables alone explained 26.9 % and climate variables 37.6 %. For females, the respective figures were 41.7, 11.5 and 28.1 %. Male suicides correlated with high unemployment rate in the frame of high growth rate and high inflation and low GDP per capita, while female suicides correlated negatively with inflation. Both male and female suicides correlated with low temperature.
The current study reports that the climatic effect (cold climate) is stronger than the economic one, but both are present. It seems that in Europe suicidality follows the climate/temperature cline which interestingly is not from south to north but from south to north-east. This raises concerns that climate change could lead to an increase in suicide rates. The current study is essentially the first successful attempt to explain the differences across countries in Europe; however, it is an observational analysis based on aggregate data and thus there is a lack of control for confounders.