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Suicide and Quarantine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Do We Know Everything?

23 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2021

See all articles by Fabian Duarte

Fabian Duarte

University of Chile - Department of Economics

Alvaro Jimenez-Molina

Universidad Diego Portales



Background: There is widespread concern over the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures on suicidal behaviour. We assessed their effects on suicide and hospitalization for attempted suicide in Chile.

Methods: We used panel data at the county and month level from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020 on suicides and related hospitalizations and a pandemic quarantine dataset. Poisson regression models and a difference-in-difference (DiD) methodology was used to estimate the impact of quarantine on both measures.

Findings: Suicide and hospitalizations for attempted suicide decreased (18% and 5·8%, respectively) during the COVID-19 outbreak in Chile (March-December 2020) compared to the same period in 2016-2019. The DiD analysis showed that there was at least a 13·2% reduction in suicides in quarantined counties relative to counties without such restrictions. This reduction was in male suicides and unaffected by age. There was no significant difference between quarantined and non-quarantined counties in terms of hospitalization for suicide attempts.

Interpretation: This study shows a significant quarantine effect on reducing suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in the number of hospitalizations for suicide attempts do not explain the differences between quarantined and non-quarantined counties.

Funding Information: ANID/Millennium Science Initiative, grant NCS17_015, NCS17_035, Instituto MIDAP ICS13_005, Fondecyt Postdoctorado nº 3200944.

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Ethics Approval Statement: Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Psychology of Diego Portales University.

Keywords: suicide, lockdown, suicide attempts, COVID-19, quarantine

Suggested Citation

Duarte, Fabian and Jimenez-Molina, Alvaro, Suicide and Quarantine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Do We Know Everything?. Available at SSRN: or

Fabian Duarte (Contact Author)

University of Chile - Department of Economics ( email )

Diagonal Paraguay 257
Torre 26, Of. 1801
56229783428 (Phone)


Alvaro Jimenez-Molina

Universidad Diego Portales ( email )

Vergara 210
Santiago, Santiag

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