Natural disasters and suicide: Evidence from Japan
Previous research shows no consensus as to whether and how natural disasters affect suicide rates in their aftermath. Using prefecture-level panel data of natural disasters and suicide in Japan between 1982 and 2010, we estimate both contemporaneous and lagged effects of natural disasters on the suicide rates of various demographic groups. We find that when the damage caused by natural disasters is extremely large, as in the case of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, suicide rates tend to increase in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and several years later. However, when the damage by natural disasters is less severe, suicide rates tend to decrease after the disasters, especially one or two years later. Thus, natural disasters affect the suicide rates of affected populations in a complicated way, depending on the severity of damages as well as on how many years have passed since the disaster. We also find that the effects of natural disasters on suicide rates vary considerably across demographic groups, which suggests that some population subgroups are more vulnerable to the impact of natural disasters than others. We then test the possibility that natural disasters enhance people's willingness to help others in society, an effect that may work as a protective factor against disaster victims' suicidal risks. We find that natural disasters increase the level of social ties in affected communities, which may mitigate some of the adverse consequence of natural disasters, resulting in a decline in suicide rates. Our findings also indicate that when natural disasters are highly destructive and disruptive, such protective features of social connectedness are unlikely to be enough to compensate for the severe negative impact of disasters on health outcomes.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 82 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paolo Buonanno & Daniel Montolio & Paolo Vanin, 2006.
"Does Social Capital Reduce Crime?,"
Working Papers (-2012)
0605, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
- Joe Chen & Yun Jeong Choi & Kohta Mori & Yasuyuki Sawada & Saki Sugano, 2009.
"Socio-Economic Studies on Suicide: A Survey,"
CIRJE-F-629, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
- John C. Driscoll & Aart C. Kraay, 1998. "Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation With Spatially Dependent Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 549-560, November.
- Paxson, Christina & Fussell, Elizabeth & Rhodes, Jean & Waters, Mary, 2012. "Five years later: Recovery from post traumatic stress and psychological distress among low-income mothers affected by Hurricane Katrina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 150-157.
- Mohan, John & Twigg, Liz & Barnard, Steve & Jones, Kelvyn, 2005. "Social capital, geography and health: a small-area analysis for England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(6), pages 1267-1283, March.
- Masanori Kuroki, 2011. "Does Social Trust Increase Individual Happiness In Japan?," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 444-459, December.
- Hwei-Lin Chuang & Wei-Chiao Huang, 2007. "A Re-Examination of the Suicide Rates in Taiwan," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 465-485, September.
- Skidmore, Mark, 2001. "Risk, natural disasters, and household savings in a life cycle model," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 15-34, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:82:y:2013:i:c:p:126-133. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.