The definition and epidemiology of clusters of suicidal behavior: A systematic review
Niedzwiedz C., Haw C., Hawton K., Platt S.
© 2014 The American Association of Suicidology. Suicide clusters are a rare and underresearched phenomenon which attract wide media attention and result in heightened concern in the communities where they occur. We conducted a systematic literature review covering the definition and epidemiology of the time-space clustering of suicidal behavior. Of the 890 articles identified by electronic searching, 82 were selected for inclusion and the extracted data were analyzed by narrative synthesis. Less than a third of studies included a definition of a suicide cluster, and definitions varied considerably. Clusters occurred in various settings, including psychiatric hospitals, schools, prisons, indigenous communities, and among the general population. Most clusters involved young p eople. The proportion of all episodes that occurred in clusters varied considerably between studies and partly depended on study methodology (e.g., a larger proportion was found in studies of specific clusters compared with general population studies). Future studies should aim to combine the statistical analysis of time-space clustering with a case study of events, which examines potential links between individuals and the wider environmental context.