Weekly lottery sales volume and suicide numbers: A time series analysis on national data from Taiwan

Vincent Chin Hung Chen, Robert Stewart, Charles Tzu Chi Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the association between weekly lottery sales and number of suicide deaths in Taiwan. Methods: All suicides aged 15+ years during 2004-2006 in Taiwan were included. Poisson autoregression time series models investigated associations of weekly numbers with contemporaneous and recent sales from two national lotteries in operation. Adjustments were made for seasonal fluctuation, temperature, monthly unemployment and autocorrelation. Results: In fully adjusted models, suicide deaths were negatively correlated with sales of tickets for a low-prize, low-cost lottery system. However, they were correlated positively with recent sales for a higher-cost, larger-prize system. Both correlations were stronger for male than female suicide numbers but differed in terms of age groups most strongly implicated. Conclusions: Associations between lottery sales and suicide numbers differed according to the nature of the lottery. A low-prize, low-publicity system appeared to be more benign than a high-prize, high-publicity one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1059
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul
Externally publishedYes


  • Gambling
  • Lottery
  • Suicide
  • Time series study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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