RxPG News Feed for RxPG News

Medical Research Health Special Topics World
  Home
 
   Health
 Aging
 Asian Health
 Events
 Fitness
 Food & Nutrition
 Happiness
 Men's Health
 Mental Health
 Occupational Health
 Parenting
 Public Health
 Sleep Hygiene
 Women's Health
 
   Healthcare
 Africa
 Australia
 Canada Healthcare
 China Healthcare
 India Healthcare
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 UK
 USA
 World Healthcare
 
   Latest Research
 Aging
 Alternative Medicine
 Anaethesia
 Biochemistry
 Biotechnology
 Cancer
 Cardiology
 Clinical Trials
 Cytology
 Dental
 Dermatology
 Embryology
 Endocrinology
 ENT
 Environment
 Epidemiology
 Gastroenterology
 Genetics
 Gynaecology
 Haematology
 Immunology
 Infectious Diseases
 Medicine
 Metabolism
 Microbiology
 Musculoskeletal
 Nephrology
 Neurosciences
 Obstetrics
 Ophthalmology
 Orthopedics
 Paediatrics
 Pathology
 Pharmacology
 Physiology
 Physiotherapy
 Psychiatry
  Anorexia Nervosa
  Anxiety
  Bulimia
  CFS
  Child Psychiatry
  Depression
  Forensic Psychiatry
  Learning-Disabilities
  Mood Disorders
  Neuropsychiatry
  Peri-Natal Psychiatry
  Personality Disorders
  Psychology
  Psychoses
  Psychotherapy
  Sleep Disorders
  Substance Abuse
  Suicide
 Radiology
 Rheumatology
 Sports Medicine
 Surgery
 Toxicology
 Urology
 
   Medical News
 Awards & Prizes
 Epidemics
 Launch
 Opinion
 Professionals
 
   Special Topics
 Ethics
 Euthanasia
 Evolution
 Feature
 Odd Medical News
 Climate

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2013 - 1:22:36 AM
Research Article
Suicide Channel

subscribe to Suicide newsletter
Latest Research : Psychiatry : Suicide

   EMAIL   |   PRINT
Countries with high happiness levels also have high suicide rates

Apr 22, 2011 - 6:15:28 AM , Reviewed by: Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
University of Warwick researcher Professor Andrew Oswald said: “Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy.”

***image1***
 
[RxPG] The happiest countries and happiest U.S. states tend to have the highest suicide rates, according to research from the UK’s University of Warwick, Hamilton College in New York and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

The new research paper titled Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. It uses U.S. and international data, which included first-time comparisons of a newly available random sample of 1.3 million Americans, and another on suicide decisions among an independent random sample of approximately 1 million Americans.

The research confirmed a little known and seemingly puzzling fact: many happy countries have unusually high rates of suicide. This observation has been made from time to time about individual nations, especially in the case of Denmark. This new research found that a range of nations - including: Canada, the United States, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland, display relatively high happiness levels and yet also have high suicide rates. Nevertheless the researchers note that, because of variation in cultures and suicide-reporting conventions, such cross-country scatter plots are only suggestive. To confirm the relationship between levels of happiness and rates of suicide within a geographical area, the researchers turned to two very large data sets covering a single country, the United States.

The scientific advantage of comparing happiness and suicide rates across U.S. states is that cultural background, national institutions, language and religion are relatively constant across a single country. While still not absolutely perfect, as the States are not identical, comparing the different areas of the country gave a much more homogeneous population to examine rather than a global sample of nations.

Comparing U.S. states in this way produced the same result. States with people who are generally more satisfied with their lives tended to have higher suicide rates than those with lower average levels of life satisfaction. For example, the raw data showed that Utah is ranked first in life-satisfaction, but has the 9th highest suicide rate. Meanwhile, New York was ranked 45th in life satisfaction, yet had the lowest suicide rate in the country.

The researchers then also tried to make their comparison between States even fairer and yet more homogeneous by adjusting for clear population differences between the states including age, gender, race, education, income, marital status and employment status. Even with these adjustments. This still produced a very strong correlation between happiness levels and suicide rates although some states shifted their positions slightly. Hawaii then ranks second in adjusted average life satisfaction but has the fifth highest suicide rate in the country. At the other end of the spectrum, for example, New Jersey ranked near the bottom in adjusted life satisfaction (47th) and had one of the lowest adjusted suicide risks (coincidentally, also the 47th highest rate).

The researchers (Professor Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick, Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Wu of Hamilton College and Mary C. Daly and Daniel Wilson both from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco) believe the key explanation that may explain this counterintuitive link between happiness and suicide rates draws on ideas about the way that human beings rely on relative comparisons between each other.

University of Warwick researcher Professor Andrew Oswald said:

“Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy.”

Professor Stephen Wu of Hamilton College said:

"This result is consistent with other research that shows that people judge their well-being in comparison to others around them. These types of comparison effects have also been shown with regards to income, unemployment, crime, and obesity."




Publication: Accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization

Advertise in this space for $10 per month. Contact us today.


Related Suicide News
Understanding gender differences in suicide methods
Countries with high happiness levels also have high suicide rates
More than half college students have suicidal thoughts
Sleep disturbances among the elderly linked to suicide
Genetic variations may predispose some men to suicidal thoughts during treatment for depression
Sleep disorder may cause suicidal tendencies
Suicide rate among NY's ethnic women population alarming
Suicide Risk associated with Pre- and Postnatal and Early Childhood Factors
Antidepressants are of questionable benefit in teenage suicide cases
Cancer survivors at risk for suicidal thoughts

Subscribe to Suicide Newsletter

Enter your email address:


 About Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in nephrology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at sanjukta.acharya@rxpgnews.com
RxPG News is committed to promotion and implementation of Evidence Based Medical Journalism in all channels of mass media including internet.
 Feedback
For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

Top of Page

 
Contact us

RxPG Online

Nerve

 

    Full Text RSS

© All rights reserved by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited (India)