Seasonal, monthly and weekly variation of suicide in Pietermaritzburg and the relationship between suicide and meteorological factors.
This study investigated the seasonal, monthly and weekly variation of fatal suicidal behaviour in Pietermaritzburg, as well as the relationship between fatal suicidal behaviour and climate. Secondary analysis was performed on suicide data collected for two unpublished honours theses. Results indicate that there is significant monthly variation in the distribution of fatal suicidal behaviour in Pietermaritzburg, with the expected spring-summer peak and winter trough . This pattern was more pronounced for adults than for the youth or the elderly. There was no significant variation in the weekly distribution of suicide, and suicides did not reach a peak on Monday as has been evidenced in previous research. Instead, the distribution showed a peak on Sunday with a steady decrease towards the end of the week. An increase in humidity, ambient temperature and minimum temperature was associated with an increase in suicide rates . Overall this relationship was stronger for violent, than non-violent suicide. However, a significant negative relationship was found between hours of sunshine and suicide, but this was only significant for non-violent suicide. This study was largely descriptive, and further research is indicated in order to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the temporal distribution of suicide .
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