Postponed suicide death? Suicides around birthdays and major public holidays

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 1999 Autumn;29(3):272-83.


The relationship between suicide and birthdays, and suicide and public holidays has been studied from data on 32,291 Danish suicides by persons ages 15 years and older in the 25-year period 1970-1994. Evidence was found to support the theory of the "broken-promise effect" for major public holidays in that there appears to be a postponement of a significant number of suicides from before a holiday until after. The division of holidays into nonworking and (half-time) working days showed that a "holiday effect" could only be found around major public holidays, particularly Christmas, Easter, and Whitsun. The postponing or transpositioning effect is relevant to prevention, especially because of the availability and accessibility of help at the end of and after major public (nonworking) holidays.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Holidays / psychology*
  • Holidays / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodicity
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors