Impact of the 1998 Football World Cup on Suicide Rates in France: Results from the National Death Registry
Encrenaz G, Contrand B, Leffondré K, Queinec R, Aouba A, Jougla E, Miras A, Lagarde E.
Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2012 Feb 10. doi: 10.1111/j.1943-278X.2011.00076.x. [Epub ahead of print]
Our objective was to determine whether the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in 1998 had a short-term impact on the number of suicides in France. Exhaustive individual daily data on suicides from 1979 to 2006 were obtained from the French epidemiological center on the medical causes of death (CepiDC-INSERM; France). These data were analyzed using the seasonal ARIMA model. The overall effect of the World Cup was tested together with potential specific impact on days following the French team games. Between 11th June and 11th July, a significant decline of 95 suicides was observed (-10.3%), this effect being the strongest among men and people aged between 30 and 44. A significant decrease was also observed for the days following French team games (-19.9%). Our results are in favor of an effect of nationwide sport events on suicidal behaviors and are consistent with other studies. Many of the theories explaining the relationship between sports and suicide are related to sense of belongingness and social integration, highlighting the importance of social link reinforcement in suicide prevention.