Psychologist Questions MP's Assertions

8.3.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A psychologist has taken a member of parliament to task over an article he wrote contending that difficult economic times in Iceland have led to an increase in suicides, and could spur more violent crime. The psychologist says this argument is contradicted by actual data.

Last Tuesday, MP for The Movement Þór Saari made a blog post about the man currently in police custody for stabbing and severely injuring the director of a law office.

Þór said that while the attack might be hard to understand, it is not so difficult to fathom if one takes into account Iceland's current economic situation. He then added that "countless" families have been split up and suicides have risen sharply due to the crash.

Criminologist Helgi Gunnlaugsson pointed out that violent crimes have actually decreased since the economic crash.

Engilbert Sigurðsson, a professor in psychology and medical director at Landspítali, also told RÚV that Þór's points are not accurate. He pointed out that according to data from Statistics Iceland, suicides have not increased since the crash. "I have to admit I was a little alarmed," Engilbert told RÚV. "Because here you have a member of parliament, pen in hand, playing fast and loose with the facts."

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