Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates, study finds

Date:
August 17, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Change and hope were central themes to the November 2008 US presidential election. A new longitudinal study published in the September issue of Social Science Quarterly analyzes suicide rates at a state level from 1981-2005 and determines that presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates among voters.

Change and hope were central themes to the November 2008 U.S. presidential election. A new longitudinal study published in the September issue of Social Science Quarterly analyzes suicide rates at a state level from 1981-2005 and determines that presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates among voters.

In states where the majority of voters supported the national election winner suicide rates decreased. However, counter-intuitively, suicide rates decreased even more dramatically in states where the majority of voters supported the election loser (4.6 percent lower for males and 5.3 lower for females). This article is the first in its field to focus on candidate and state-specific outcomes in relation to suicide rates. Prior research on this topic focused on whether the election process itself influenced suicide rates, and found that suicide rates fell during the election season.

Richard A. Dunn, Ph.D., lead author of the study, credits the power of social cohesion, "Sure, supporting the loser stinks, but if everyone around you supported the loser, it isn't as bad because you feel connected to those around you. In other words, it is more comforting to be a Democrat in Massachusetts or Rhode Island when George W. Bush was re-elected than to be the lonely Democrat in Idaho or Oklahoma."

Researchers have commonly thought that people who are less connected to other members of society are more likely to commit suicide. The authors of the study first became interested in this concept when studying the effect of job loss and unemployment on suicide risk, which theoretically causes people to feel less connected to society. The authors realized that while previous work had explored whether events that brought people together and reaffirmed their shared heritage such as elections, war, religious and secular holidays lowered suicide rates, researchers had generally ignored how the outcomes of these events could also influence suicide risk.

The study holds implications for public health researchers studying the determinants of suicide risk, sociologists studying the role of social cohesion and political scientists studying the rhetoric of political campaigns.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Timothy J. Classen, Richard A. Dunn. The Politics of Hope and Despair: The Effect of Presidential Election Outcomes on Suicide Rates. Social Science Quarterly, 2010; 91 (3): 593 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00709.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114825.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, August 17). Presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114825.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Presidential election outcomes directly influence suicide rates, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816114825.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins