Going into the Light
Highest Suicide Rates Found in Happiest Places
Maybe Hawaii doesn't have shark-infested waters after all...
A new study has shown that both internationally and across the United States, the happiest regions also have the highest rates of suicide. Among the nations with the highest happiness levels and suicide rates are Canada, the U.S., Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland.
To confirm the relationship in a more homogenous population, the authors also examined the trend in the U.S., with the same results. They controlled for factors including age, race, gender, education, and employment status.
They found that Hawaii was the second happiest state and had the fifth highest suicide rate in the country, whereas New Jersey ranked near the bottom in life satisfaction and had one of the lowest suicide rates. This counts as some sorta win for Jersey, don't ya think?
But why are there higher suicide rates in places that are generally happier? One of the main authors, Professor Andrew Oswald, hypothesizes that "discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy." Hmmm, some science behind the old adage, "misery loves company"?
Source: University of Warwick (2011, April 21). Happiest places have highest suicide rates, new research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 28, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421082641.htm