To determine if the suicides in a Finnish psychiatric hospital with a
history of a suicide epidemic were clustered and if the sex distribution of
the suicides followed a random pattern, the authors conducted statistical
analyses of the temporal distribution and sex distribution of 59
consecutive inpatient suicides over the years 1967- 1992 in the hospital.
They found no statistically significant temporal clustering and that the
sex distribution of the suicides was random. They conclude that inpatient
suicide epidemics seem to be rare and separate events, related more to
temporary micro-social factors and to the psychopathology of individual
patients than to permanent characteristics of a particular hospital.