Pollen counts and suicide rates. Association not replicated

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Feb;125(2):168-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01813.x. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Abstract

Objective: To replicate a previously reported association between pollen counts and county suicide rates in the continental United States, across space and time.

Method: The authors evaluated the relationship between airborne pollen counts and suicide rates in 42 counties of the continental United States, containing a pollen-counting station participating in the Aeroallergen Monitoring Network in the United States (N = 120,076 suicides), considering years' quarter, age group, sex, race, rural/urban location, number of local psychiatrists, and median household income, from 1999 to 2002. The county-level effects were broken into between-county and within-county.

Results: No within-county effects were found. Between-county effects for grass and ragweed pollen on suicide rates lost statistical significance after adjustment for median income, number of psychiatrists, and urban vs. rural location.

Conclusion: Future research is necessary to reappraise the previously reported relationship between pollen levels and suicide rates that may have been driven by socioeconomic confounders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pollen / adverse effects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Population
  • Seasons*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Urban Population

Substances

  • Allergens