Clinical Suicidology: Theoretical Models

This articles examines different theories of suicide, starting with a review of two major sociological theories, those of Durkheim & Henry & Short. The discussion then turns to individual theories of suicidal behaviours, classified into 3 major types: physiological, intrapsychic, & interpersonal. Intrapsychic theories are further divided into psychoanalytic theory, social learning, & cognitive process. […]

Suicide and Homicide: Durkheim’s and Henry and Short’s Theories Tested on Data From the Baltic States

The three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania – were studied in two sociopolitically divergent periods, 1970-1984 & 1985-1998. Results of the study supported the hypothesis that suicide & homicide rates are affected by sociopolitical & economic conditions. Findings are examined using Durkheim’s & Henry & Short’s theories. (31 refs)

Suicide Types: Theories of Suicide (IN: Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying, vol.2: L-Z, ed. by R Kastenbaum)

The author provides a history of theoretical approaches to explaining suicide, beginning with the seminal theories of Freud & Durkheim, & then turning to more recent theories developed by suicidologists in order to account for individual suicides as well as the suicide rates within a society. (14 refs)

Old Wine in a new Wineskin (IN: The Currents of Lethal Violence: an Integrated Model of Suicide and Homicide, ed. by N P Unnithan et al)


Suicide and Homicide (IN: A Physiological Basis for Personality Traits: a new Theory of Personality, by D Lester)

This chapter examines suicide as an act of inward-directed aggression & contrasts the act with outward-directed aggression. Henry & Short’s theory on inward directed aggression found two psychological correlates of oriented aggression in people: low superego & a psychological response to stress similar to the effects of nor-adrenalin. Henry & Short’s findings are contrasted to […]

Adolescent Suicide From an International Perspective

A review of international suicide rates indicates that although youth suicide rates are high, they are lower than rates for the elderly, have increased less dramatically in recent decades, & are higher for boys than for girls. It is argued that the increases in adolescent suicide rates that have occurred in some nations are a […]

Adolescent Suicide Risk Today: a Paradox

A review of international statistics indicates that youth suicide rates are not increasing in all nations. Furthermore, it is suggested that the quality of life in nations is improving & that this improvement itself may increase the risk of suicide, especially in youth with narcissistic personality traits & antisocial personality disorder traits. (7 refs.)

The Association of Suicide and Homicide Over Time in Nations

In time-series data from 19 countries around the world, the general tendency was for a positive association between suicide and homicide rates. Data for the period 1950-1985 was studied. Results are in opposition to the hypothesis by Henry & Short (1954) in which it was proposed that social conditions which increase the social suicide rate […]

Homicide Followed by Suicide: an Analysis of Chicago Data

The thesis that the closer the ties between the offender & victim in a homicide, the greater the ensuing guilt & the greater the likelihood of suicide was tested. 16,425 homicides in Chicago are analyzed. Results largely confirm the hypothesis. Controlling for sociodemographic variables, killing an ex-spouse/lover increased the risk of suicide the most, 12.68 […]

Suicidal Behavior in African-American Slaves

Reports of suicides by African-American slaves are reviewed, and rates calculated from the available data. Severe punishment appeared to be the most common precipitant for suicide, and explanations for the possible variation in suicide rates by status are proposed. (56 refs.)

Education and Suicide: the Quality of Life Among Modern Americans

It was hypothesized that Americans with more education would have a higher suicide rate & a lower homicide rate than less educated Americans. Results indicated that suicide rates were not significantly correlated with either the high school or college completion rates whereas homicide rates were, but at a low magnitude. These results do not support […]

Murders and Suicide: are They Polar Opposites

The relationship between suicidal & murderous desires is explored. Freud’s psychological theory & Henry & Short’s sociological theory are reviewed, & empirical studies that bear on the issue are examined. There is not sufficient information as yet to confirm or disconfirm that murder & suicide are polar opposites, but suggestions are made for future research […]

National Character, Suicide and Homicide

Measures of achievement, competitiveness & occupational preference obtained from samples of college students in 30 nations were associated with national rates of suicide & homicide. Suicide rates were lower & homicide rates were higher in societies whose students value achievement, competitiveness & business more. The implication of these results are discussed. (7 refs.)

Suicide and Murder: Some Possible Relationships (IN: The Psychology of Death, by R Kastenbaum & R Aisenberg)

This article details theories describing links between suicidal & homicidal behavior. One argument suggests that during times when external aggression is high, such as war, the suicide rate decreases. Another theory holds one kills parents or significant others by killing oneself. Other theorists assert a mother may be homicidal & unconsciously encourage her children to […]

Locus of Control, Anger and Suicide

Those who had attempted suicide in the past were found to have higher indirect hostility scores & less of a belief in control by powerful others. Results were examined from the perspective of Seligman’s learned helplessness theory & Henry & Short’s theory.

The Quality of Life and Suicide Rates in American Cities in 1930

Lester (1986) argued that where the quality of life (QOL) is better, people have less justification for blaming others for their misfortunes & so are more likely to become depressed & suicidal. Both nations & states with a higher QOL have higher suicide rates. The present note examines the association of the suicide rates of […]

Suicide, Homicide and the Quality of Life in Various Countries

Based on the theory of Henry & Short, it was predicted that suicide rates should be higher & homicide rates lower in countries where the quality of life (QOL) is better. In 1980, for a sample of 43 countries, this prediction was confirmed for some components of the QOL (psychological well-being) but not for other […]

One Theory of Teen-age Suicide

The author theorizes that as quality of life improves & external sources of distress decline, teenage suicide rates increase. He suggests that removal of outside stressors makes it more difficult to externalize blame for one’s misery. Encouraging teenagers to participate in athletics, do volunteer work or help others in the community is, perhaps, a way […]

Changing Age Patterns of U.S. Male & Female Suicide Rates, 1934-1983

Changes in the age patterns of US male & female suicide rates from 1934-83 are examined using official data. Among whites, the age patterns of male & female suicide rates have become less concordant since about 1960. In contrast, the age patterns of nonwhite male & female suicide rates have become more concordant since the […]

Childhood Experiences of Punishment (IN: Suicide as a Learned Behavior, by D Lester)

The Quality of Life & Suicide

Presents a study on the states of the U.S. in 1931 which confirms results of a previous cross-national study. Results of both studies indicate that suicide was more likely & homicide was less likely in regions where the quality of life was better. 5 refs. (LH)

Suicide and Aggressiveness (IN: Suicide: The Gamble With Death, by Gene Lester and David Lester)

Conflicting views about the direction of aggressive tendencies & suicidal behaviour are discussed. While research does not show that suicidal persons are unaggressive or inward-aggressive, clinicians disagree. It is suggested that students of the relationship between suicide & aggressiveness need to study impulsivity as well in order to come to accurate conclusions. 9 Refs. (LH)

Suicide and Homicide (IN: Suicide: The Gamble With Death, byGene Lester and David Lester)

Evidence & theories about the relationship between suicide and homicide are examined. Studies on the relation between suicide and homicide rates show inconsistent results. Since both are comparable in certain ways, it is important to find out why some people become murderers & others become suicides. 12 Refs. (LH)