Poster – Azar Abadi

Assessment of the Effects of Different Timescales of Drought on Suicide in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 7 from 2000 to 2018

Azar M. Abadi, Ph.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center; Siddhi Munde, University of Nebraska Medical center; Yeongjin Gwon, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical center; Jesse E. Bell, PhD, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Abadi is a Research Assistant professor in the College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her expertise is in Climate Science and she has both deep and broad-spectrum experience in environment and health, with research projects and other responsibilities focused on drought, infectious disease, heatwaves, and extreme weather.

Discuss this presentation with the authors on Thursday, November 11 from noon – 12:30 on the Zoom Live-stream.


Extreme weather events can directly harm individuals by disrupting their environment and producing lingering psychological distress through multiple pathways (economic strain, displacement, social isolation, and reduced access to care). This study aims to examine the potential impact of drought on suicide in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 7 from 2000 to 2018. HHS Region 7 includes the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. We obtained monthly total (separated into firearm and non-firearm) suicide counts in four age groups, three races, and two gender categories from the detailed mortality dataset provided by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for all Region 7 counties in the study period. The drought exposure was defined based on the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) in three timescales. We use a two-stage modeling approach and the Generalized Additive Model (GAM) to evaluate the overall effect of drought on suicide. All the covariates of the models, including age, race, and gender, were significant. Our findings indicate that drought has a higher impact on firearm suicide than non-firearm suicide. We also showed that longer-term drought episodes estimated higher rates of firearm and non-firearm suicides.

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