Are elite cricketers more prone to suicide? A psychological autopsy study of Test cricketer suicides

Australas Psychiatry. 2016 Jun;24(3):295-9. doi: 10.1177/1039856216641311. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


Objectives: It has been hypothesised that the very nature of the game predisposes elite cricketers to higher rates of suicide.

Aim: We aim to estimate the suicide rate of male Test cricketers and to determine the reasons for suicide.

Methods: The suicide rate in male Test cricketers was determined. A psychological autopsy was conducted using published biographical data.

Results: Twenty suicides amongst 2794 male Test cricketers from 1877 to 2014 yielded a suicide rate of 715.4 per 100,000 for that period. Health, financial and relationship issues were prominent; depression and alcohol misuse were common.

Conclusions: Most suicides in Test cricketers occurred post-retirement in mid to late life with similar correlates to those found in the general male population. The idiosyncrasies of cricket are unlikely to contribute to suicide; however, the post-retirement welfare of Test cricketers should remain a focus of concern and the greater supports available to contemporary Test cricketers needs to extend beyond retirement.

Keywords: cricket; sport; suicide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Biographies as Topic
  • England
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Retirement / psychology
  • Social Support
  • South Africa
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data