The role of seasonality and photoperiod on the lethality of suicide attempts: A case-control study

Andrea Aguglia, Gianluca Serafini, Paola Solano, Gabriele Giacomini, Claudia Conigliaro, Virginio Salvi, Claudio Mencacci, Miroslav Romano, Eugenio Aguglia, Mario Amore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The risk factors related to suicidal behaviors are complex and not yet fully known. Several studies underline how suicide results from the combination of psycho-social, biological, cultural, and environmental factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential role of seasonality and photoperiod on high-lethality suicide attempts (HLSA) compared with low-lethality suicide attempts (LLSA) in a sample of psychiatric inpatients. Methods: After attempting suicide, subjects were admitted in the emergency/psychiatric ward of the IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino from 1st August 2013 to 31st July 2018. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were collected. Results: The sample consisted of four hundred thirty-two individuals admitted for suicide attempt. One hundred thirty-three subjects (30.8%) of the sample committed a HLSA. The HLSA group peaked in the months with a higher sunlight exposure (June and July). Bivariate correlation analyses between seasonality/photoperiod in the whole sample and HLSA were positively associated with summer and highest solar intensity period. Limitations: Data were limited to a single hospital, patients’ seasonal environment, meteorological variables and psychological factors. In addition, the presence of acute life-events fostering the suicidal crisis has not been investigated. Conclusions: The current study provides a novel perspective on the questions surrounding the impact of seasonality and daylight exposure on lethality of suicide attempts. further studies are needed to provide deeper understandings on the delicate molecular network that links suicide behaviors, seasonality and daylight in order to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-901
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Lethality
  • Seasonality
  • Suicide
  • Sunlight
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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