A sociobiological extension of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide

Recently, our group proposed an account of human suicide (Joiner, Hom, Hagan, & Silva, 2016) that integrates two lines of thought and scholarship: one on self-sacrificial behavior that occurs across species in nature, and the other on the interpersonal theory of suicide’s attempt to explain human suicide (Joiner, 2005; Van Orden et al., 2010). Here, […]

Empirical Support for an Evolutionary Model of Self-Destructive Motivation


Smart and Suicidal? the Social Ecology of Intelligence and Suicide in Austria

Quest for Evolutionary Meaning in the Persistence of Suicide

This article explores the suggestion of some scientists that the persistence of suicide at fairly high rates across most cultures suggests an underlying evolutionary component, a possible Darwinian rationale for an an act that often seems irrational. Scientists propose the tendency toward suicide could be a concomitant of a trait or a group of traits […]

Attitudes Toward Suicide as a Function of the Victim’s Physical Status


Reinventing the Wheel (IN: The Currents of Lethal Violence: an Integrated Model of Suicide and Homicide, ed. by N P Unnithan et al)

This chapter reviews the literature on lethal violence circa 1972-1992 that is directly related to the development of a comprehensive explanation of homicide & suicide. The authors argue that althougth interest in violence is great amongst both the general public & scholars, the study of suicide & homicide have become separate enterprises, & even where […]

Suicidology – Expanding its Research Tools

This article examines the growing attention that suicidology has gained as a science, & the importance of suicidology in terms of evolution. The article hypothasizes that human traits such as impulsivity & aggression are accentuated in suicidal individuals. The article suggests that this impulsivity & aggression may have evolved in the human species with the […]

Perspectives on Suicide

In this paper, the author aims to be provocative by suggesting a variety of perspectives (or meanings) for suicide, in the hopes that some of them will stimulate readers’ thinking about suicide. (97 refs)

Is Humanity Suicidal?

Editorial: September 11

This article discusses the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in terms of the mental health of individuals who would plan their own suicides & kill others in the process of committing a terrorist act. The roles of religion, martyrdom, obedience to leadership, & possible individual psychopathology are discussed. (5 refs)

Book Review-Suicide and Self Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective, by D deCatanzaro

Depression and Suicidal Behaviour: Psychopathological Differences Between Suicidal and Non-Suicidal Depressive Patients

After an introduction to the fundamental structure of suicidal tendencies, the frequency of suicidal behaviours is discussed in depth particularly among people with depression. Particular emphasis is placed upon the question of typical psychopathology as a high risk factor. It is seen that special importance is attributed to thoughts of worthlessness, guilt, despair, depressive delusional […]

Prediction of Self-Preservation Failures on the Basis of Quantitative Evolutionary Biology (IN: Assessment and Prediction of Suicide, edited by R W Maris et al)

In reviewing evolutionary limits to self-preservation, this chapter discusses an integration of the theories of senescence, reproductive value, inclusive fitness, & social dominance as summarized in a relatively simple mathmatical formula. Correspondence to the social ecology of suicide is discussed. Regarding scientific prediction of suicide, the author contends that discriminant-function analysis & multiple regression are […]

Biological Perspectives on Suicide

Research review suggesting that there has been increasing evidence that, in some people, self-destructive behaviours may be an expression of disordered biology. The major theories underlying the biological origins of suicidal behaviour include; sociobiological, genetics, neuropsychobiological, & mental disorders (mood disorders, schizophrenia, alcohol abusedependency).

Evolutionary Limits to Self-Preservation

This article uses a simple mathematical formula: reproductive potential plus the productive value of continued existence. In theory, this quantity should represent the desire for self-preservation. In asocial species, the value varies from zero up. In a highly social species like humans, however, a negative value can be obtained, with a low reproductive potential & […]

Biological Contributions to Suicide (IN: Suicide: Understanding and Responding: Harvard Medical School Perspectives, ed. by D Jacobs and H N Brown)

This discussion of possible biological contributions to suicide includes evolutionary perspectives; causes of suicide in primitive cultures; a sociobiological synthesis of suicide; heritable factors such as family, twin, & genetic influences; & biological markers such as the pituitary-adrenocortical axis & biogenic amine metabolites. Recommends that psychiatric evaluation for suicide should include a thorough family history […]

The Apparent Anomaly of Self-Destructive Behavior (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

The author asserts that almost all behaviour displayed by oranisms is oriented toward the maintenance or advancement of biological fitness, yet self-destructive behaviour acts directly against this. Humans are virtually the only species which are overtly self-destructive. The author argues that suicide is a result of a reduced biological fitness relative to others in the […]

Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

This chapter details suicidal behaviour throughout history. The author asserts that suicide has been seen since the beginning of recorded time, & across all cultures. Suicide rates are provided for immigrants. Changes in suicide rates since 1910 are given for 20 Western countries, & methods of suicide are broken down by race & sex. The […]

Self-Destructiveness in Other Species (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

This chapter discusses animal behaviour which is directly oriented toward or conducive to death. The author asserts self-destruction of a direct & unequivocal nature seems to only occur in the human species. The only time when animals appear to be self-destructive (without a secondary reason, like reproductive motivations) is when in captivity or other unnatural […]

Biological Fitness and the Social Ecololgy of Suicide (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

This chapter discusses the sociobiological implications of suicide. The author details the motives for suicide in various cultures, outlines the marital status of suicide victims, & describes differences by sex & age. He concludes that people who commit suicide usually have impairments in their ability to be reproductive or productive (i.e., promoting related individuals’ welfare). […]

Cultural Evolution and Suicide (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

This chapter discusses the impact of learning, cognition, technology & culture on the determination of suicide. The author asserts developed human cognitive & learning abilities may in part account for the uniqueness of human suicide in the animal kingdom. He hypothesizes that suicide may have begun to occur as various technologies for effecting death proliferated, […]

Toward an Expansion of Research Paradigms (IN: Suicide and Self-Damaging Behavior: a Sociobiological Perspective)

This chapter synthesizes biological approaches to self-damaging behavior and suggests focuses for future research. Commonalities within the forms of self-damaging behavior include chronic coping difficulty, novel environments & the predominance of the behavior among males. Suggested focuses for future research include: learning VS innate determination, biological fitness, the role of ecological novelty & technology in […]

A Psychological Approach to Suicide (IN: Cataclysms, Crises, & Catastrophes: Psychology in Action, by A Baum et al)

This discussion of a psychological approach to suicide includes a brief presentation of each of 14 approaches to suicide, the 10 commonalities of suicide that constitute a psychological approach, a cubic model of suicide, treatment implications, & public policy & suicide. 69 refs.