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Abstract

Excerpt from the full-text article:

In this paper an attempt is made to determine what factors propel given individuals toward self destruction. Durkheim's typology of suicides is utilized and an analysis of the social and psychological components of each type undertaken. The social structure is viewed from the vantage point of how it influences and is internalized by members of society. The psychological aspects are handled by looking into what intrapsychic and external forces shape the individual's personality and behavior in such a way that he seeks his own death. In some instances it is hard to draw a sharp line of demarcation between the social and psychologtcal; as many factors are "psychosocial." Psychoanalytic psychtatry postulates that the fundamental patterns of behavior are set in tnfancy and early childhood and are not seriously altered later. Neurosis can not be cured by social analysis; this is the task of psychotherapy. Each indtvtdual has a certain level of suicide potenttal that is established during his early life by his family and immediateenvironment through such behavior as rejection or over acceptance; frustration or total gratification of wishes. If the child is not gradually prepared for responsible adulthood, his suicide potential is apt to be htgh. Conversely, if his rearing readies him for work and other activities which will net him socially valued rewards, his suicide potential will be low. Even though an act of suicide may appear to be precipitated by a specific cause, one stimulus alone is not sufficient to produce self murder. The underlying pattern of behavior must be already leading in that direction.

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