Year: 2001 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, v.31, no.1, (Spring 2001), p.15-31 SIEC No: 20010521

This empirical study commemorates Durkheim’s contribution to suicidology by reviewing his own & his followers’ formulation of the relationship between the business cycle & suicide. 3 distinctive sociological theories of suicide, including Durkheim’s, were identified to link the suicide rate to the socioeconomic environment of the society. A real-income hypothesis of suicide was developed to capture: the positive impact of the economy on suicide; the curvilinear impact of the economy on suicide implied by Durkheim’s proposition; & the interplay of both economic & sociological variables on suicide. Another implication from the reformulation is that there may exist a positive natural rate of suicide for any society. These 2 hypotheses were tested using 1990 census data for the continental states of the USA. Some conclusions & suggestions were drawn for future research. (46 refs.)