A historical examination of military records of US Army suicide, 1819 to 2017

Importance:  Suicide rates among active-duty personnel in the US military have increased substantially since 2004, and numerous studies have attempted to contextualize and better understand this phenomenon. Placing contemporary examinations of suicides among active-duty personnel in the US Army in historical context provides opportunities for joint historical and epidemiological research to inform health care professionals […]

The ethics of suicide.



Offers factual information about suicide, providing a brief history, discussing risk factors and mental disorders, addressing young victims and the right to die, and exploring suicide as a weapon, experiences of people left behind, and prevention.

Suicide Prevention: a Long-Lasting Italian Tradition. Toward Understanding the Suicidal Mind

Since Morselli’s 1881 report, suicide rates have changed dramatically in some Italian areas whereas the rates have remained approximately the same in other regions. Italy has a long tradition in the study of suicide & now it is crucial to learn more about assessment & management of suicide risk. The author overviews the drama occurring […]

Suicide Research Before Durkheim

This review of historical research demonstrates there had been extensive studies of suicide preceding Durkheim, addressing not only the importance of social factors, but also those factors which are now subsumed in the medical model. It is asserted some of the earlier reviews can now be seen as more balanced & comprehensive than that of […]

Book Review-Essential Papers on Suicide, edited by J T Maltsberger & M J Goldblatt


Durkheim’s Precedence in the use of the Terms Egoistic and Altruistic Suicide: an Addendum


Shifting Conversations on Girls’ and Women’s Self-Injury: an Analysis of the Clinical Literature in Historical Context

The author presents a historical review of girls’ & women’s episodic & repetitive self-injury in the clinical literature from 1913 to the present. Moving from research studies which indicate that self-injury typically presents in females during adolescence, this article elucidates how self-injury may reflect girls’ developmental struggles within a patriarchal culture & embody a narrative […]

Illuminating Inheritance: Benjamin’s Influence on Arendt’s Political Storytelling


Book Review – Pre-Durkheim Suicidology: the 1892 Reviews of Tuke and Savage by R D Goldney & J A Schioldann

The book reviewed here is one that points to the fact that Durkheim’s study of suicide was only one of many important studies on this subject being done in the nineteenth century. The reviewer finds the book to be interesting & timely, especially as the psychiatric perspective today threatens to overtake the Durkheimian tradition. He […]

Old Theories Never die (IN: The Currents of Lethal Violence: an Integrated Model of Suicide and Homicide, ed. by N P Unnithan et al)

This chapter begins with a review of the sources used by Emile Durkheim to develop his theory of suicide. This is followed by an exploration of the early history of the stream analogy, the idea that suicide & homicide are linked. Various developments, criticisms, & reincarnations of the stream analogy are traced in the works […]

Evolution of the Concept of Altruistic Suicide in Pre-Durkheim Suicidology

The authors explore the pre-Durkheim understanding of altruistic suicide. They find that suicide as self-sacrifice was described by early nineteenth-century authors before the delineation of altruism by the French philosopher & mathematician Auguste Comte. The concept evolved, leading to the categorization of altruistic suicide by Savage in England in 1892 & the elaboration of the […]

Enrico Morselli: a Pioneer in Suicide Research

This column discusses the life & work of Enrico Morselli, a late nineteenth-century Italian psychiatrist, who wrote “Suicide. An Essay on Comparative Moral Statistics.” The theoretical basis of this pioneering work & its impact are described. (11 refs)

Pre-Durkheim Suicidology

Published in “Suicide Risk & Protective Factors in the New Millennium,” ed. by O T Grad

Black Suicide: a Hidden Crisis

This article attempts to disprove the myth that suicide is primarily a White problem, by examining statistics & information concerning the suicide rates among Black urban populations. The author investigates the origin of this myth & discusses the history of suicide among Blacks. He also examines possible risk factors influencing suicidality in Black populations. The […]

Book Review – The Unknown Sorokin: his Life in Russia and the Essay on Suicide, ed. by D Vagero, I H Makinen, et al.

This document reviews the book by D Vagero et al, which focuses on a unique archival find – the 1913 lost essay “Suicide as a Social Phenomenon,” by the well-known sociologist, P Sorokin. The reviewer recommends this book, & especially a reading of Sorokin’s essay itself, to every person interested in historical suicidology. He also […]

The Longevity and Mortality of American Physicians, 1938-1942: a Preliminary Report

File copy is best copy available.

Suicides of Physicians and the Reasons

This article analyzed the suicide rates of physicians in the United States from 1891-1903. The average rate was 41 with the highest rate occurring in 1893, identified by the author as a time of great financial depression. Competition within the profession, constant familiarity with death, & the stress of modern living are identified as reasons […]

One Hundred Years ago: the Verdict of ‘Suicide While Insane’

This article discusses the recent case of a medical man whose death by prussic acid poisoning was ruled a suicide by a jury. The case gave rise to a discussion about the man’s mental state at the time of completing suicide, & the author uses this to explore both the historical & contemporary implications of […]

Hume on Suicide

Examines David Hume’s essay on the morality of suicide as a starting point for contemporary debate about the morality of suicide, namely, the debate about whether some condition of life could present one with a morally acceptable reason for autonomously deciding to end one’s life. (17 refs)

When Promises Fail: a Theory of Temporal Fluctuations in Suicide

Numerous studies have reported that suicide rates tend to be affected by temporal variables (month, day of the week, day of the month, holidays). Few authors have provided convincing explanations of these relations, & no one except Durkheim has suspected that they display similarities which indicate that they might have some causal origins in common. […]

Epilepsy and Suicide

Purposive Accidents as an Expression of Self-Destructive Tendencies

Purposive accidents are described and examples given. These accidents are ones in which the body is hurt in seemingly fortuitous accidents but closer examination reveals they are unconscious wishes of the victim. Freud suggests that they are indirect attempts at suicide. One example is of a man who set up a shotgun trap to catch […]