Happy Friday the 13th!

Should you lock yourself in your house until the bad luck passes? This study says yes:

Is Friday the 13th bad for your health?

OBJECTIVE–To examine the relation between health, behaviour, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th in the United Kingdom. DESIGN–Retrospective study of paired data comparing driving and shopping patterns and accidents. SUBJECTS–Drivers, shoppers, and residents. SETTING–South West Thames region. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES–Numbers of vehicles on motorways; numbers of shoppers in supermarkets; and hospital admissions due to accidents. RESULTS–There were consistently and significantly fewer vehicles on the southern section of the M25 on Friday the 13th compared with Friday the 6th. The numbers of shoppers were not significantly different on the two days. Admissions due to transport accidents were significantly increased on Friday 13th (total 65 v 45; p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS–Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended.

The study compared hospital admissions due to traffic accidents on Friday the 13ths to Friday the 6ths, and found that there were more on the 13ths!

Very interesting. Maybe there’s something to this Friday the 13th thing, or maybe this study is flawed. One thing that stands out to me in this study is that there are fewer vehicles on the road on Friday the 13ths, perhaps superstitious people stay home? This may lead to faster-moving traffic, which could lead to more (or more serious) traffic accidents.

What do you think?


2 Responses to “Happy Friday the 13th!”

  1. 1 Lisa Damian November 13, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I find it interesting that anyone would actually do a scientific study about a superstitious belief. This could be a whole new line of inquiry… Of course, whether or not other factors are at play, such as self-fulfilling prophecies, would be a detail that is not easily measurable. Still though, interesting…

  2. 2 EnlightningLinZ November 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I think when it’s a superstition that’s so widely held it’s worth looking into, if only to alleviate the fears of those who are afraid of Friday the 13th. It would also be really something if it were true that Friday the 13th held some kind of power over peoples’ luck. This isn’t the only study on the subject, but it’s the only one I found with a positive result.

    People have also done studies on things like whether the full moon affects crime rates, there was also recently a mathematical formula that predicted the spread of zombies.

    The scientists that did this study probably just wanted to do something fun, it was just looking at past stats, so it didn’t cost a lot of money, so why not? I love studies like this!

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