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May 2022

Suicide: A multidimensional malaise

Journal/Book: Suicide Life-Threaten Behav. 1996; 26: 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012. Guilford Press. 221-236.

Abstract: No one really knows why human beings commit suicide. The goal of this paper is to provide a psychological point of view on the topic, among the many other perspectives that are needed. It addresses the question by providing a theory of suicide, arguing that it is theory that allows us to sort out the booming buzzing mess of experience (Wm. James). Suicide is a multidimensional malaise. Metaphorically speaking, it is an intrapsychic drama on an interpersonal stage. As sound theory must be empirically observable, the theory is next applied to research of suicide notes, studying such factors as age, sex, and method of suicide, cross-culture and cross-time. Next, because all theory must have clinical applicability, a clinical case study of Goethe's Werther is provided. Overall, it is concluded that we need to continue to develop models to understand the suicidal mind.

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