Suicide, Theories of

Suicide is death due to a self-directed action intended to end one’s own life. Suicide is estimated to take the lives of more than 800,000 people worldwide each year. In the United Sates, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with 38,364 people dying by suicide per year, an average of 105 per day. Furthermore, 8.3 million adults experience past-year suicidal ideation, 2.2 million experience past-year suicide plans, and 1 million attempt suicide each year. Women are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than men, but men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide. This entry discusses several theories that attempt to conceptualize suicide and suicidal behavior. Theories of suicide are not mutually exclusive and build on previously hypothesized concepts.

Biological Theory

Biological ...

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