Socio-environmental drivers and suicide in Australia: Bayesian spatial analysis

Qi, Xin, Hu, Wenbiao, Mengersen, Kerrie, & Tong, Shilu (2014) Socio-environmental drivers and suicide in Australia: Bayesian spatial analysis. BMC Public Health, 14(681).

View at publisher (open access)



The impact of socio-environmental factors on suicide has been examined in many studies. Few of them, however, have explored these associations from a spatial perspective, especially in assessing the association between meteorological factors and suicide. This study examined the association of meteorological and socio-demographic factors with suicide across small areas over different time periods.


Suicide, population and socio-demographic data (e.g., population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI), and unemployment rate (UNE) at the Local Government Area (LGA) level were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the period of 1986 to 2005. Information on meteorological factors (rainfall, temperature and humidity) was supplied by Australian Bureau of Meteorology. A Bayesian Conditional Autoregressive (CAR) Model was applied to explore the association of socio-demographic and meteorological factors with suicide across LGAs.


In Model I (socio-demographic factors), proportion of ATSI and UNE were positively associated with suicide from 1996 to 2000 (Relative Risk (RR)ATSI = 1.0107, 95% Credible Interval (CI): 1.0062-1.0151; RRUNE = 1.0187, 95% CI: 1.0060-1.0315), and from 2001 to 2005 (RRATSI = 1.0126, 95% CI: 1.0076-1.0176; RRUNE = 1.0198, 95% CI: 1.0041-1.0354). Socio-Economic Index for Area (SEIFA) and IND, however, had negative associations with suicide between 1986 and 1990 (RRSEIFA = 0.9983, 95% CI: 0.9971-0.9995; RRATSI = 0.9914, 95% CI: 0.9848-0.9980). Model II (meteorological factors): a 1°C higher yearly mean temperature across LGAs increased the suicide rate by an average by 2.27% (95% CI: 0.73%, 3.82%) in 1996–2000, and 3.24% (95% CI: 1.26%, 5.21%) in 2001–2005. The associations between socio-demographic factors and suicide in Model III (socio-demographic and meteorological factors) were similar to those in Model I; but, there is no substantive association between climate and suicide in Model III.


Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, unemployment and temperature appeared to be statistically associated with of suicide incidence across LGAs among all selected variables, especially in recent years. The results indicated that socio-demographic factors played more important roles than meteorological factors in the spatial pattern of suicide incidence.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™
3 citations in Web of Science®

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

25 since deposited on 14 Apr 2015
15 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 83562
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Suicide, Spatial, Socio-environmental, Australia
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-681
ISSN: 1471-2458
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Qi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 14 Apr 2015 22:50
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 21:23

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page