• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.

Suicide and Suicide Trends in the United States, 1900–1999
Suicide and suicide trends in the united states, 1900–1999

Anoted thanatologist has observed that death has cultural, economic, medical, and social implications and effects (Blacher 1987). This is no less true of events caused by those who intentionally take their lives. As a subarea of thanatological study, suicide, or self-induced death, has a different connotation from those deaths that result from natural processes, accident, or even homicide. All the ingredients, such as emotional pain, grieving, and sense of loss are the same among survivors, but suicide represents a death form that in many ways continues to be shrouded in mystery.

Long the subject of scholarly analysis, suicide remains a matter of vexation. Identified as one of the most ...

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