How Culture Shapes Suicidal Behavior


David Lester, Ph.D.
Stockton University, Galloway, NJ, USA

Series: Psychology of Emotions, Motivations and Actions
BISAC: MED105000

This book explores the role of culture in explaining suicidal behavior. Explanations based on the genes and physiology of individuals, and theories based on psychological variables have difficulty explaining the suicide rate of societies, as well as the occurrence of suicide in individuals. This book illustrates the strong role of culture in determining the suicide rate of societies by looking at the role of the major religion of a society, in particular, Islam, as well as national differences in suicide rates, and the variation of suicide rates within a nation (for example, over the states of the USA).

Descriptions of suicidal behavior in some groups are provided, including African American slaves in the 1700s and 1800s, Siberian indigenous peoples, and the Roma. Cultural scripts for suicide are described, such as seppuku, sati, and victim-precipitated homicide, and types of suicide in which the staging of the suicidal act is determined by the culture. Finally, it is argued that, not only does culture have an impact on the suicide rate of a society, but also that culture is the primary determinant of the staging of the suicidal act, that is, the location chosen for suicide (for example, at home versus away from home), the method chosen for suicide, the clothes worn, the motive for the suicidal act, and other choices that the would-be suicide has to make.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Culture and Suicide

Part 1: Evidence for Cultural Differences

Chapter 2. Religion and Suicide

Chapter 3. Studies of Nations

Chapter 4. Studies of Regions within a Nation

Part 2: Studies of Single Cultures

Chapter 5. Suicide and the Roma people

Chapter 6. Suicidal Behavior in African American Slaves

Chapter 7. Suicide in Siberian Aboriginal Groups

Chapter 8. Cultural Scripts for Suicide

Part 3: Conclusions

Chapter 9. What are Other Factors that Might Shape Suicidal Behavior?

Chapter 10. The Role of Culture

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