Why People Die by Suicide

Why People Die by Suicide

eBook - 2007
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Harvard University Press

In the wake of a suicide, the most troubling questions are invariably the most difficult to answer: How could we have known? What could we have done? And always, unremittingly: Why? Written by a clinical psychologist whose own life has been touched by suicide, this book offers the clearest account ever given of why some people choose to die.

Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner brings a comprehensive understanding to seemingly incomprehensible behavior. Among the many people who have considered, attempted, or died by suicide, he finds three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself. Joiner tests his theory against diverse facts taken from clinical anecdotes, history, literature, popular culture, anthropology, epidemiology, genetics, and neurobiology--facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis.

The result is the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. Joiner's is a work that makes sense of the bewildering array of statistics and stories surrounding suicidal behavior; at the same time, it offers insight, guidance, and essential information to clinicians, scientists, and health practitioners, and to anyone whose life has been affected by suicide.


Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner provides the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. He tests his theory against diverse facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2007
Edition: 1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780674039209
0674039203
Characteristics: 1 online resource (276 pages)

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davedalton
Sep 23, 2016

It wasn't written for the general public. It's written for health professionals who work with individuals who may be at risk for suicide.

j
jlcaine
Jul 06, 2011

I liked what the author had to say, but I didn't like the way in which he wrote it. The author should have had an editor more closely comb through his work as it was difficult to get through. Essentially, he says that people choose to kill themselves because the fill they are a burden to their families and because they....they....I can't even remember.

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