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Psych 239 Textbook Suicide Notes.docx

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Holly Whyte

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Theoretical Perspectives on Suicide: Psychodynamic: - inward-directed anger that turns murderous - “death instinct” – tendency to return to tension-free state that preceded birth Humanistic-Existential: -suicide related to perception that life is meaningless and hopeless Sociocultural: -Emile Durkheim – people who feel anomie (lack of purpose) more likely to kill themselves -suicide results from alienation in societylack of social support Learning/behavior: -reinforcing effects of prior suicide threats and attempts  receive sympathy and support Social-Cognitive: -positive expectancies and approving attitudes toward legitimacy of suicide - expect to be missed, eulogized, people will feel guilty -modelling effects eg. famous musician, actor, celebrity (suicide of sibling/friend does not impact risk) -social contagion – spreading of suicide in a community Biological Factors: -reduced serotonin activity in people who attempt/commit suicide -also linked to impulsive aggression -Suicidal behavior before 25 is highly familial (genetic) -greater # of family with suicidal behavior, earlier age of onset for suicidal acts Typical Attempter Profile: An unmarried white female, history of past, recent stressful events, who had an unstable childhood, and now has few social
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