Year: 1993 Source: Sociological Perspectives, v.36, no.2, (1993), p.137-148 SIEC No: 20010761

Durkheim’s theory of suicide stressed the historical processes of modernization in explaining the rise in suicide. Tests of Durkheim’s theory have, however, been largely ahistorical. The present study fills this void with a time-series analysis of Finnish historical suicide data. A Cochrane-Orcutt analysis finds that a 1% increase in urbanization is associated with a .19% increase in suicide. The results are independent of control variables from alternate perspectives on suicide. Some evidence is found to support Halbwach’s “Law of Convergence”. Whereas a 1% increase in modernization increases suicide by .22% in the 19th century, this figure drops to .12% in the 20th century. (46 refs.)