Aim – The association between sporting activities, or lack there of, and suicidal behaviour has not yet been clarified. The objective of this study was to determine, if sports participation has an impact on risk for completed suicide. Methods – Axis I and Axis II disorders, sociodemographic factors, and current and former sports activities, including various sports disciplines, were assessed by a semi-structured interview by psychological autopsy method in 163 suicides and by personal interview in 396 living population-based control persons. Results – Current sports activities (OR = 0.24, 95%CI, 0.15 to 0.39; OR = 0.27, 95%CI, 0.16 to 0.45) and sports activities at some point in life (OR = 0.33, 95%CI, 0.18 to 0.62; OR = 0.40, 95%CI, 0.23 to 0.68, after adjustment for axis I and II disorders or educational level, each) were associated with decreased suicide risk. Conclusions – Current sports activities and sports activities at some point in life may reduce suicide risk.
Declaration of Interest: Barbara Schneider got research funding as young scientist for the project “Psychopathological, sociodemographic, psychosocial, and work-related risk factors for suicide” from the faculty representative committee of the Faculty of Medicine, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main. Furthermore, “Nachlaβ Martha Schmelz”, part of the university foundation of Frankfurt am Main, supported the research project. There was no support from drug companies related to the present paper. Barbara Schneider, Klaus Georgi, and Axel Schnabel are employed at the Goethe-University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine. Bettina Müller is employed at the Markus Hospital, Frankfurt /Main.