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|
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.:
- 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.
- 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, 2012.
"Socio‐Economic Studies On Suicide: A Survey,"
Journal of Economic Surveys,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 271-306, 04.
- 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.
- Hwei-Lin Chuang & Wei-Chiao Huang, 2007. "A Re-Examination of the Suicide Rates in Taiwan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 465-485, September.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.