Seasonality of Suicide Deaths in Serbia, 1990-2012

  • Goran Penev Demographic Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade (Serbia)
Keywords: suicide, seasonal variations, evaluation of significance, differences by sex, Serbia


Background: In the period from 1990 to 2012, there were 32,855 suicides registered in Serbia, i.e. an average of 1428 deaths per year (18.9 per 100.000 inhabitants). The suicides were the most frequent in the early 1990s, less frequent during the 2000s, and least frequent in the last three years of the observed period (2010-2012 – an average of 1237 suicides per year).

Objective: The goal of this paper is to evaluate the seasonal variations of suicides in Serbia in the period of 1990-2012, their changes, as well as the accordance with findings from other countries.

Method: In the paper are used "classical" statistical methods of evaluating cyclical variations (c2-test, Edwards' test) as well as some frequently used newer methods (e.g. the peak-low ratio). It also introduces a new indicator of the intensity of monthly variations in suicides (the magnitude of trimester variations of /12/ moving consecutive months index – the MtMV index). Seasonality of suicides is also observed by sex.

Results: The results of the research of seasonality confirm that certain cyclical variations in mortality due to suicide are also present in Serbia. Observed by season, suicides are most frequent in spring and summer and less in winter. The cyclical nature was also clearly confirmed by month. Suicides are most frequent in "warm" months (April-August) and far less frequent in "cold" months (December-February). By month, suicides are most frequent in May, while the maximal average number of suicides per day was calculated for June (21 % higher than the average for 1990-2012). December is singled out as the month with the lowest number as well as lowest daily average of suicides (25 % lower than the average).

Conclusion: The cyclical nature of suicides is clearly notable during the entire observed period and no significant fluctuations or decrease in the intensity of the variation were observed. Regardless of the method of analysis, the resulting conclusions are identical regarding the cyclical nature of the variations and the temporal characteristics of suicides in Serbia at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century.

At the aggregate level there are no significant differences in seasonal variations of suicides committed by men and women. Changes also developed in parallel and in the same direction for both sexes.


Download data is not yet available.


AJDACIC-GROSS, V., et al. (2005). "Diversity and change in suicide seasonality over 125 years". Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59, 967-972.

AJDACIC-GROSS, V., et al. (2010). "Seasonality in suicide – A review and search of new concepts for explaining the heterogeneous phenomena". Social Science & Medicine, 71, 4, 657-666.

BANDO, H. D., M. F. VOLPE (2014). "Seasonal variation of suicide in São Paulo, Brazil, 1996–2010". Crisis, 35, 1, 5–9.

BROOKHART, M. A., K. J. ROTHMAN (2008). "Simple estimators of the inten-sity of seasonal occurrence". BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8, 1, 67.

CANTOR, C. H., P.A. HICKEY, D. DE LEO (2000). "Seasonal variation in suicide in a predominantly Caucasian tropical/subtropical region of Australia". Psychopathology, 33, 6, 303-306.

CARBONELL-CAMÓS, E. (2008). "Les dimensions temporelles du suicide : une hypothèse". Santé mentale au Québec, 33, 2, 225-245.

CHEW, K. S., R. McCLEARY (1995). The spring peak in suicides: a cross-national analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 40, 2, 223-230.

CHRISTODOULOU, C. et al. (2012). "Seasonal variation of suicide". Encephalos, 49, 73-79.

DIRKEM, E. (1997). Samoubistvo (Beograd: Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod).

EDWARDS, J. H. (1961). "The recognition and estimation of cyclic trends". Annals of Human Genetics, 25, 1, 83–87.

FOSSEY, E., C. M. SHAPIRO (1992). "Seasonality in psychiatry - a review". Canadian journal of psychiatry / Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 37, 5, 299-308.

HAKKO, H. (2000). Seasonal variation of suicides and homicides in Finland. With special attention to statistical techniques used in seasonality studies. (Oolu – Kuopio: Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu - Department of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Kuopio).

HAKKO, H., et al. (2002). "Use of statistical techniques in studies of suicide seasonality, 1970 to 1997". Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 32, 2, 191–208

KALEDIENE, R., S. STARKUVIENE, J. PETRAUSKIENE (2006). "Seasonal patterns of suicides over the period of socio-economic transition in Lithuania". BMC Public Health, 6, 1, 40-48

LIN, Ch. et al. (2008). Seasonality and Climatic Associations with Violent and Nonviolent Suicide: A Population-Based Study. Neuropsychobiology, 57:1-2, 32–37

MASSING, W., M. C. ANGERMEYER (1985). "The monthly and weekly distribution of suicide". Social Science & Medicine, 21, 4, 433-441.

MEARES, R., F. A. MENDELSOHN, J. MILGROM-FRIEDMAN (1981). "A sex difference in the seasonal variation of suicide rate: a single cycle for men, two cycles for women". The British Journal of Psychiatry, 138, 4, 321-325.

MILANKOVIĆ, J. (2010). Nasilne smrti u Republici Srbiji, 1997-2007. (Beograd: Republički zavod za statistiku).

MILIĆ, Č. (2010). "Sezonske varijacije – faktor rizika za nastanak suicida". Medicinski pregled, LXIII, 7-8, 531-534.

МЯГКОВ, А.Ю. (2004). "Темпоральные характеристики самоубийств". Социологические исследования, 2004 (31), 3, 83-92

NIKOLIĆ, D., D. DIMITRIJEVIĆ (2002). Nasilna smrt u Jugoslaviji 1950-2000. Zadesi, samoubistva, ubistva (Beograd: Ars Libri).

ORAVECZ, R. et al. (2007). "Changes in the seasonality of suicides over time in Slovenia, 1971 to 2002. Amplitude is only positively related to suicide rates among females". Journal of Affective Disorders,104, 211–215.

PARKER, G., S. WALTER (1982). Seasonal variation in depressive disorders and suicidal deaths in New South Wales. British Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 6, 626-632

PETROVIĆ, R., P. OPALIĆ, D. RADULOVIĆ (1990). Samoubistva u Jugoslaviji (Beograd: Institut za sociološka istraživanja Filozofskog fakulteta u Beogradu)

PENEV, G., B. STANKOVIĆ (2007). "Samoubistva u Srbiji početkom 21. veka i kretanja u proteklih pedeset godina". Stanovništvo, XLV, 2, 25-62.

PENEV, G., B. STANKOVIĆ (2009). "Samoubistva u Srbiji: vulnerabilni muškarci". Socijalna misao, XVI, 4, 151-168.

PRETI, A. (2002). "Seasonal variation and meteotropism in suicide: clinical relevance of findings and implications for research". Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 14, 17–28.

PRETI, A., P. MIOTTO (1998). "Seasonality in suicides: the influence of suicide method, gender and age on suicide distribution in Italy". Psychiatry Research, 81, 2, 219–231.

RAU, R. (2007). Seasonality in Human Mortality. A Demographic Approach. (Heidelberg: Springer).

ROCKA, D., D. M. Greenberg, J. F. Hallmayer (2003). "Increasing seasonality of suicide in Australia 1970–1999". Psychiatry Research, 120, 1, 43–51.

STANKOVIĆ, B., G. PENEV (2011). "Samoubistva starih u Srbiji i mogućnosti preventivnog delovanja". Gerontologija, 38, 1, 84-92.

SUN, J. et al. (2011). "Seasonality of suicide in Shandong China, 1991–2009: associations with gender, age, area and methods of suicide". Journal of Affective Disorders, 135, 1-3, 258-266.

VORACEK, M., U. TRAN, G. SONNECK (2007). "Facts and myths about seasonal variation in suicide". Psychological Reports, 100, 3, 810-814.

WOO, J. M., O. OKUSAGA, T. P. POSTOLACHE (2012). "Seasonality of suicidal behavior". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8, 531-547.

YIP, P., A. CHAO, C. CHIU (2000). "Seasonal variation in suicides: diminished or vanished. Experience from England and Wales, 1982-1996". British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 4, 366-369.

YIP, P. S. F., A. CHAO, T. P. HO (1998). A re-examination of seasonal variation in suicides in Australia and New Zealand. Journal of Affective Disorders, 47, 1-3, 141–150.

How to Cite
Penev, G. (2014). Seasonality of Suicide Deaths in Serbia, 1990-2012. Stanovnistvo, 52(2), 67-89.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>