Research Paper - 85056748 11/22/11 Psych 280-010 Death is...

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85056748 11/22/11 Psych 280-010 Death is an inevitable part of life; it is expected, but in general most people expect to live their lives fully before the time to pass comes. However, there is a form of premature death: suicide. “Suicide is defined as intentional death by one's own hand” (Ledgerwood, 2011). It is a social issue that affects people of all backgrounds, “suicide rates vary according to region, sex, age, time, ethnic origin, and, probably, practices of death registration” (Hawton & van Heeringen, 2009). Within a social psychological context, the most related factors are community, gender, and race, which includes culture and ethnicity. With these main influences being social pressures, it can be concluded that society and social interactions have a lot to do with the prevalence of suicide. In fact, “the estimated global burden of suicide is a million deaths per year” (Hawton & van Heeringen, 2009). The methods used to bring about death vary from firearms to poisoning, and the success rate depends on the aforementioned factors, especially gender and age. To also go along with this, there are proximal and distal factors. Examples of distal are things such as early traumatic life experiences or genetic loading; some proximal factors can include psychiatric disorder (Hawton & van Heeringen, 2009). The evidence of increasing premature deaths within different groups is important because of its detrimental effects on society, and the ways in which suicide can even become a social trend. Not only that, but there can be steps taken to decrease the number of suicides. Steps to decrease incidents such as certain social interactions, for example bullying, or perhaps even stereotyping of particular groups need to be taken. No matter the cause, there are preventative measures for such a 1
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concerning social problem as suicide, in particular regarding the stereotypes faced as a male or female, the pressures of a community, and one’s race, culture or ethnic background. One dominant aspect of whether or not one is likely to commit suicide is a very basic detail: gender. As small a factor as it might seem, many things come into play when looking at gender. One thing is the biological aspect of being a male or female. Another aspect is the differing social qualities of men and women. One striking fact is “about three fourths of all suicides are men, but women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide” (Holmes, 2011). This greatly has to do with the methods used to attempts suicide as well as the reasons why suicide is attempted in the first place. For instance, “men tend to choose more violent means (eg, hanging or shooting) and women less violent methods (eg, self-poisoning)” (Hawton & van Heeringen, 2009). One could attribute this fact to the common thought that men tend to be more aggressive, while women are subtler when releasing anger or frustration. But when looked at through social psychology, a better explanation for why men and women each choose different
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2012 for the course PSYCH 280 taught by Professor Bushman during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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Research Paper - 85056748 11/22/11 Psych 280-010 Death is...

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