UCL News


Suicide risk linked to month of birth: study

2 May 2006

People born in spring or early summer in the northern hemisphere have a 17 percent increased risk of committing suicide than those with birthdays in the autumn or early winter, researchers said on Tuesday.

"Our results support the hypotheses that there is a seasonal effect in the monthly birth rates of people who kill themselves and that there is a disproportionate excess of such people born between late spring and midsummer compared with the other months," Dr Emad Salib, of Liverpool University, northwest England, said in a report in the 'British Journal of Psychiatry'.

Salib and Dr Mario Cortina-Borja [UCL Institute of Child Health] analyzed data on 26,915 suicides and deaths from undetermined injuries in England and Wales between 1979 and 2001. …

The researchers suggest exposure of the fetus to factors such as maternal diet, infections, toxins, the amount of sunlight and hormones could trigger physical and psychiatric disorders, including suicide, in adulthood. …