Sociology Index

Suicide

Suicide is the action or an act of intentionally killing oneself. Suicide is the act of terminating one's own life. Suicide may be a result of depression, desperation, ego, anomie, altruism or other situations. In the present world, suicide has also become a form of protest. 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China. Different types of Suicide include Altruistic Suicide, Egoistic Suicide, Anomic Suicide and Fatalistic Suicide

David Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) argued against Psychological Reductionism in his study of suicide by arguing, and demonstrating, that even after providing a psychological explanation for individual acts of suicide there was something still to account for: the difference in suicide rates between societies.

Medically assisted suicide or euthanasia is a controversial ethical issue involving people who are terminally ill. Kamikaze and suicide bombing have become military or terrorist tactic. Models who committed suicide.

Sati, a Hindu funeral practice where the widow commits suicide by immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre, is still prevalent in many parts of India, but goes unreported.

Firearms are the most common method for suicide (55% of suicides are committed with a firearm). So it is imperative that a suicidal person should not have access to a firearm.

Social suicide-rate can be explained only sociologically. At any given moment the moral constitution of society establishes the contingent of voluntary deaths. There is, therefore, for each people a collective force of a definite amount of energy, impelling men to self-destruction.

In America almost 30,000 people commit suicide every year, and 70% of those people give warning signs before taking their own life. Stop A Suicide Today! can teach you how to recognize the warning signs of suicide in family, friends, co-workers, and patients, and how to respond as you would do with any medical emergency. - stopasuicide.org

The European Suicide - A research project at the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University. Suicide mortality is investigated in an all European perspectives. On this site you'll find information on the status of Durkheim's theorie of suicide and Parsons' theory of action systems.

Are Socioeconomic Factors Valid Determinants of Suicide? Controlling for National Cultures of Suicide with Fixed-Effects Estimation - Eric Neumayer, London School of Economics and Political Science 
This article's analysis employs a range of economic and social explanatory variables based on economic as well as Durkheimian sociological theory in fixed-effects and random-effects estimation of age-standardized suicide rates in a large panel of up to 68 countries during the period 1980 to 1999. Economic and social factors affect cross-country differences in suicide rates in accordance with theory. The fixed-effects estimation results do not differ systematically from the random-effects results.

Suicide Ideation and Acculturation among Low Socioeconomic Status Mexican American Adolescents 
Katherine M. Rasmussen, Charles Negy, Ralph Carlson, JoAnn Mitchell Burns, University of Texas-Pan American 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether Mexican American adolescents' suicide ideation could be predicted from their acculturation levels. Although adolescents' acculturation levels did not correlate independently with suicide ideation scores, acculturation did significantly (and positively) predict suicide ideation when combined with depressive symptoms and low self-esteem.

A Primer on Rational Suicide and Other Forms of Hastened Death 
James L. Werth, Jr., American Psychological Association AIDS Policy Congressional Fellow,
Daniel J. Holdwick, Jr., St. Lawrence University 
An overview of the major mental health issues involved in the debate over rational suicide and other forms of hastened death. Covers the arguments for including counseling psychologists and other mental health professionals in discussions about hastened death. Provides direction for those counseling psychologists who are working with persons who may be rational in their decisions to hasten death.

Physician-Assisted Suicide 
Lois Snyder, JD; Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD, for the Ethics and Human Rights Committee, American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine, 7 August 2001, Volume 135 Issue 3, Pages 209-216
Medical professional codes have long prohibited physician involvement in assisting a patient's suicide. Despite ethical and legal prohibitions, calls for the liberalization of this ban have grown. In addressing such a issue, physicians, policymakers, and society must fully consider the needs of patients, the vulnerability of particular patient groups, issues of trust and professionalism, and the complexities of end-of-life health care. Physician-assisted suicide is prominent among the issues that define our professional norms and codes of ethics. 
The American College of Physicians and American Society of Internal Medicine does not support the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. The routine practice of physician-assisted suicide raises serious ethical and other concerns. Legalization would undermine the patient–physician relationship and the trust necessary to sustain it; alter the medical profession's role in society; and endanger the value our society places on life, especially on the lives of disabled, incompetent, and vulnerable individuals.

Durkheim linked anomic suicide to disillusionment and disappointment.

Durkheim distinguished between egoistic, anomic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicide, broad classifications that reflect then-prevailing theories of human behavior.

Durkheim viewed egoistic suicide as a consequence of the deterioration of social and familial bonds.

The term 'altruism' was used by David Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) to describe a suicide committed for the benefit of others or for the community: this would include self-sacrifice for military objectives in wartime.

The condition of slavery may make an individual feel that the only way to find escape is suicide. This would be fatalistic suicide because the individual considers himself condemned by fate or doomed to be a slave. A fatalistic situation calling for a fatalistic suicide as a solution or escape.

The category of fatalistic suicide was constructed mainly for purposes of symmetry, as contrasted with egoistic suicide, and because it would undercut his central claims about the role of modern urban life as increasing the incidence of suicide, Durkheim could never seriously examine the possibility that social integration could result in suicide. 

Fatalistic suicide served as a descriptor for suicides in traditional societies, because Durkheim was faced with the issue that even in societies with abundant social capital, individuals nevertheless killed themselves.

Books on Suicide

Durkheim's Suicide: A Century of Research and Debate (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought) Durkeim's book on suicide, first published in 1897.

Reducing Your Child's Risk For Depression & Suicide (Parenting Pointers).

Why Suicide?: Questions and Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know.