Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) 2014 World Cup Impact on Hospital-Treated Suicide Attempt (Overdose) in Tehran

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Social influences on suicidal behaviors may be important but are less frequently studied than the influences of mental illness, physical illness, and demographic variables. Major international sporting events may have an impact on suicidal behaviors at the national and local level, an effect possibly mediated by gender and age. We examined the association of hospital-treated deliberate self-poisoning episodes (by gender and by age) in Tehran: before, during, and after the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, in which the Iranian national team participated and was eliminated after the pool games. We used a time series analysis within an autoregressive integrated moving average model and found a significant increase in hospital-treated deliberate self-poisoning during the 4-week period of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in females but a nonsignificant increase in males. A significant increase was also seen in the youngest age group (12–20 years), but not in the two older age groups. If the effects of nonsuccess at major international sporting events could be shown to have a potential harmful effect on aggregate local or national rates of suicidal behaviors, the possibility of preventative interventions and preemptive additional service provision could be planned in advance of these events.

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