Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies




Suicideis a complex issue that is influenced by cultural, biological,social, and psychological factors (Goldsmith &amp Institute ofMedicine (U.S.), 2001). Yet studies about suicide have, in the past,investigated whether these variables are the defining concepts forrisk factors. Cultural factors fall in both the social andpsychological factors. Precipitating factors, therefore, emanate fromthe psychological and social predispositions that cause some peopleto have suicidal tendencies than others. There are cross-culturalconsistencies of suicidal discussed in this paper that makes thefactors discussed herein to be universally acceptable precipitatingand cultural factors for suicide. An example is the fact that womenattempt suicides more times than men. However, in the few times thatmen attempt suicide, they have completed them at a higher rate thanwomen. Furthermore, men employ more violent methods than women.Moreover, mental illness as a predisposing factor for suicide cutsacross all cultures internationally. The most common mental illnessin almost all cultures is mood disorders. The last universal fact isthat a combination of a major mental illness, a personality disorder,and an addictive disorder increases the risk of suicide.

Thecommon precipitating and cultural factors of suicide


Thereare different precipitating and cultural factors for suicidalbehavior. The factors interact with one another in different ways.Knowing and understanding the individuals that have a predispositionto suicide, and also their exposure to a combination of these factorsfundamentally help to pinpoint those in need of prevention efforts.Thus, it is vital to understand the cultural and precipitatingfactors that can lead one to suicidal behavior. Certain lifecircumstances and events may be the precipitating factors forsuicide. Some of the precipitating factors associated with lifeevents are: broken or disturbed relationships, interpersonalconflicts, legal or work-related problems, and personal loss (Krug,Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, Lozano, &amp World Health Organization, 2012).

Personalloss: When a person loses loved one through separation, divorce, ordeath, they are highly likely to develop depressive feelings.Depression is intense when the person lost was extraordinarily close.Unless necessary and sufficient counseling is initiated, theindividual may slip into uncontrollable state of depression that canlead to suicidal compulsions.

Interpersonalconflicts: Conflicts that disrupt or stop interpersonal relationshipscan also trigger depressive feelings. The depression emanates fromthe feeling of hopelessness that follows a conflict. A study wasconducted in Finland in which 16000 young people in adolescence tookpart showed that people exposed to bullying and other unpleasanttreatment suffered from depression. The intense depression arisingfrom the resentment of being a victim or a perpetrator of bullyingcaused suicidal ideation. Another study in Scotland also indicatedthe same trend that showed a direct and independent link betweeninterpersonal conflicts and suicides. Finally, an Australian reportin Ballarat showed a correlation between suicidal tendencies and thesocial and personal difficult in the lives of victims.

Ahistory of sexual or physical abuse during childhood: Children whoare sexually or physically abused have a higher risk of exhibitingsuicidal behavior in their adulthood. Victims of sexual abuse oftenfeel ashamed of themselves and humiliated. They also distrustinterpersonal relationships and find it difficult to maintain closerelationships. They also feel inadequate and inferior. As a researchin the Netherlands indicated among some 1490 young respondents, thosewho had a past of sexual or physical abuse displayed significantlevels of suicidal behavior. They also had other behavioral andemotional problems.

Socialisolation: this factor seems to be the opposite of the interpersonalconflict because relationships should reduce the reasons for suicidalbehavior (Goldsmith &amp the Institute of Medicine (U.S), p. 10).However, egoistic and anomic suicides were found by Emile Durkheim, aFrench psychologist, to be caused by inadequate social connectednessfor the victim. People who have strong ties with other people areless likely than those who are isolated to be vulnerable to suicidalbehavior. When one experiences personal loss, they are likely toattempt to take their life if they lack enough social support fromother loved ones during the grieving period.

Culturalfactors that predispose people to suicidal behavior

Culturalfactors are those factors that are found with traditional system ofthe society or a community. The cultural factors also do not operatein isolation from other psychological, biological, and socialfactors, but they interact. (Simon &amp Hales, 2012). The commoncultural factors that cause suicidal behavior are: sex, age, race,contagion, and ethnicity. Race and ethnicity are biological factors,but the cultural system shared by people in a particular race orethnic group create patterns of behavior and value systems (Krug,Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, Lozano &amp World Health Organization,2002).The differences in the rates of suicides in most societies varyacross ethnic groups, races, age groups, and gender. The differencesmay be used to identify risk and protective factors for people withsuicidal behavior. For instance the an Epidemiological Catchment AreaStudy provided data that showed African-American women had attemptedsuicides at the same rate as their white counterparts (. However, theformer had fewer completions. The explanation for this trend was thatAfrican-American women had support for larger extended families,stronger mothering traditions, fewer visits to personal or generalphysicians, and concrete social support.

Suicidecontagion: When there is news circulating about suicides, researcherscontend that they increase the possibility of more suicide incidences(p.11). The situation is referred to as suicide contagion. Thesuicides of personalities such as celebrities are copied at a higherrate those of artists, villains, and the economic elite of thesociety. Contagion stimulates suicidal behavior if there aresimilarities between the victim and those who imitate. For instance,teenagers are more likely to be victims of suicide contagion thanadults.

Religion:Religious involvement is therapeutic and may reduce the risk ofsuicidal behavior (p.11). However, religions reduce the risk atdifferent levels in different regions. While Protestants in theUnited States have double suicide rather than Catholics,predominantly Catholic states such as Hungary and Austria have thehighest rates of suicides and suicidal behavior. Thus, the type ofreligion one professes may not be a linking factor, but all religiouspeople tend to have a lesser risk of suicidal behavior thannon-religious people because most of them prescribe eternal damnationfor those who commit suicide. The issue of religion and its effect onthe rate of suicides is also quite complex. For example, in Asia,Confucius groups have a lower prevalence of suicides thannon-Confucius groups (Simon &amp Hales, 2012). Both groups havelower tendencies when an individual professes some Buddhist values. Macro-social circumstances are another caveat on religion as a vitalfactor of suicidal behavior. While a religious society may have lowerrates of suicides than a non-religious society, macro-social factorssuch as conflict and political instability may increase the rates ofsuicides. An example is Thailand that had a very low suicidebase-rate that increased rapidly after political destabilization thatcauses a sudden economic change in the country.

Incarceration:in societies where imprisonment is high, suicide rates as a result ofit are also high. The common cause death among inmates in the UnitedStates is suicide. The same trend is in other countries. Inmateswith suicidal behavior also exhibit other problems such asanti-social personality disorder or affective and/or anxietydisorders. Male inmates are the highest in this case, with a majorityof victims being new inmates who cannot contemplate years or monthsof incarceration. Other features that are common in inmates withsuicidal behavior are isolation from others, low cognitiveimpairment, and un-psychotic. Prison suicides normally involveinmates with a history of prolonged substance abuse, especiallyalcohol.

Genderfactors: Different cultural orientations in the society influence thevarying gender ratios in the prevalence of suicides (Leach, 2014).Some countries have many predisposing factors to depressive disordersamong its populations, especially the old than others (Marin, 2008).Other cultural factors that cause differing prevalence to suicides insocieties are rates of alcohol consumption, the types and influenceof traditional rituals or food intake, the proportion of the olderpopulation, and the level of cognitive rigidity. For instance, theUnited States has a suicide rate of 12 per thousand people whileHungary has the highest rate at 66 per thousand people (Goldsmith &ampInstitute of Medicine (U.S.), 2001). Mexico has the lowest rate atonly 2.5 per ten thousand people (p.8). The rationale for thesedisparities is a strong social network and controls, extended familyties, high rates of depression, and the explicit description ofsuicide in countries with lower suicide rates. Hungary has all thesefactors in the negative hence, has a high prevalence of suicidalbehavior.


Goldsmith,S. K., &amp Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2001). Riskfactors for suicide: Summary of a workshop.Washington, D.C: National Academy Press

Krug,E. G., Dahlberg, L. L., Mercy, J. A., Zwi, A. B., Lozano, R., &ampWorld Health Organization. (2002). Worldreport on violence and health.Geneva: World Health Organization.

Leach,M. M. (2014). Culturaldiversity and suicide: Ethnic, religious, gender, and sexualorientation perspectives.Routledge.

Marin,H. (2008). Cultural Diversity and Suicide: Ethnic, Religious, Gender,and Sexual Orientation Perspectives. PsychiatricServices,59(6),697-698.

Simon,R. I., &amp Hales, R. E. (2012). TheAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Suicide Assessment andManagement.Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Publishing.