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A Dip in Deaths Before Ceremonial Occasions: Some New Relationships Between Social Integration and Mortality

David P. Phillips and Kenneth A. Feldman
American Sociological Review
Vol. 38, No. 6 (Dec., 1973), pp. 678-696
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094131
Page Count: 19
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A Dip in Deaths Before Ceremonial Occasions: Some New Relationships Between Social Integration and Mortality
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Abstract

This paper presents evidence that there are fewer deaths than expected before three ceremonial occasions: the birthday, Presidential elections, and the Jewish Day of Atonement. The investigation of mortality before the birthday was based on biographical information on 1,333 famous persons; official vital statistics tables were used to study mortality before the other two occasions. Alternative explanations of our findings are examined; the evidence suggests that the dip in deaths before ceremonies results from some persons' postponement of death. These results are interpreted in terms of Durkheim's discussion of social integration and ceremonies.

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