Rethinking suicide: notes toward a critical epidemiology

K. Hopper, Sally Guttmacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Where the genesis of 'disease' owes much to causes that are social economic in nature, epidemiology holds unrealized potential as a tool of social criticism. A particularly interesting example is provided by suicide and suicide research. Methodological difficulties are explored in detail, major findings reviewed, and the dominant interpretations of such findings criticized. Research has consistently pointed to the risks of marginal or minority status, unemployment, weak community supports, situational crises, and the pressures people are subjected to during periods of economic depression. It is argued that the sociostructural implications of such research have been systematically ignored, attention being devoted instead to more efficient management of the suicidal individual - this in spite of the lack of success of suicide prevention centers. Initial steps toward an alternative framework are outlined, with emphasis laid on the need to disaggregate the suicide act. It is further suggested that self-destruction is a far commoner - indeed, integral-part of our social environment than the bare rack of suicide statistics would suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-438
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Volume9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1979

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epidemiology
Suicide
suicide
Epidemiology
Economic Recession
Research
self-destruction
social criticism
Unemployment
Social Environment
social economics
unemployment
statistics
Economics
minority
Disease
Pressure
interpretation
cause
lack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)

Cite this

Rethinking suicide : notes toward a critical epidemiology. / Hopper, K.; Guttmacher, Sally.

In: International Journal of Health Services, Vol. 9, No. 3, 1979, p. 417-438.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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